Sustainable ship loading planning for prefabricated products in the construction industry

Wen Yi, Robyn Phipps, Hans Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper focuses on sustainable transportation of prefab products from factories to construction sites by ship. Since the transportation cost for all the prefab products of a construction site is mainly dependent on the number of cargo holds used on ships, a loading plan for prefab products that minimizes the number of holds required is highly desirable. This paper is therefore devoted to the development of an optimal loading plan that decides which prefab products are loaded into each cargo hold and how to pack these prefab products into the holds so that as few holds as possible are used. We formulate the problem as a large-scale integer optimization model whose objective function is to minimize the total number of cargo holds used and whose constraints represent the cargo hold capacity limits. We develop a heuristic to solve the problem and obtain a high-quality solution. We have tested the model and algorithm on a case study that includes 20 prefab products. We find that different cargo holds carry prefab products that have quite different densities. Moreover, the orientations of many prefab products are different from their default orientations. The results demonstrate the applicability of the proposed model and algorithm.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8905
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Logistics in construction
  • Prefabrication product loading plan
  • Sustainable shipping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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