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Flow balancing-based empty container respositioning in typical shipping service routes

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jingxin DongORCiD


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This article formulates the empty container repositioning problem for general shipping service routes based on container flow balancing. Two types of flow balancing mechanisms are analysed. The first is based on point-to-point balancing, which leads to a point-to-point repositioning policy. The second is based on coordinated balancing in the whole service, which leads to a coordinated repositioning policy. A simple heuristic algorithm is presented to solve the coordinated balancing problem which aims to minimize total empty container repositioning costs. The above two repositioning policies are then applied to a range of shipping services, representing typical route structures in existing shipping networks. The relative performances of these two policies and their sensitivity to route structure and trade demand are examined in both deterministic and stochastic situations. Managerial insights are subsequently derived.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Song DP, Dong JX

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Maritime Economics and Logistics

Year: 2011

Volume: 13

Issue: 1

Pages: 61-77

Print publication date: 01/03/2011

ISSN (print): 1479-2931

ISSN (electronic): 1479-294X

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.


DOI: 10.1057/mel.2010.18


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