Network Tuning

Optimizing the entire liner shipping network is a very hard problem. Current algorithms and computers are not able to produce satisfactory results when attempting to plan a world-wide network. However, from a practical point of view it may not be very convenient to plan a complete network from scratch. A container liner shipping company would be very cautious before changing all existing shipping routes and very drastic changes could also lead to inconvenience for the customers of the liner shipping company.

Therefore it may be relevant to make minor only time adjustments to the routes, or optimize a region or route at a time.

Liner Shipping companies such as Maersk have a network of different cyclic routes which are interconnected at some ports. Each of these routes is cyclic on a fixed weekly schedule.

The project will investigate how port calls can be adjusted, so that overall shorter transit times are achieved. As an example consider a vessel that arrives to a transit port Wednesday, but the connecting vessel leaves next Tuesday, causing a delay of 6 days for the cargo. Rescheduling the arriving vessel to Monday, transit times will only be one day.

However, changing the weekday of a single port call affects the arrival days of the whole route, and hence a holistic view is needed taking into account port availabilities, sailing speed, and customer demands.