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Empty container management in cyclic shipping routes

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jingxin DongORCiD


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This paper considers the empty container management problem in a cyclic shipping route. The objective is to seek the optimal empty container repositioning policy in a dynamic and stochastic situation by minimising the expected total costs consisting of inventory holding costs, demand lost-sale costs, lifting-on and lifting-off charges, and container transportation costs. A three-phase threshold control policy is developed to reposition empty containers in cyclic routes. The threshold values are determined based on the information of average customer demands and their variability. A non-repositioning policy and three other heuristic policies are introduced for purposes of comparison. Simulation is used to evaluate the performance of empty repositioning policies. A range of numerical examples with different demand patterns; degrees of uncertainty, and fleet sizes demonstrate that the threshold policy significantly outperforms the heuristic policies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Song DP, Dong JX

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Maritime Economics and Logistics

Year: 2008

Volume: 10

Issue: 4

Pages: 335-361

ISSN (print): 1479-2931

ISSN (electronic): 1479-294X

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.


DOI: 10.1057/mel.2008.11


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