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A frequency-based maritime container assignment model

Bell, Michael G H; Angeloudis, Panagiotis; Liu, Xin; Fonzone, Achille; Hosseinloo, Solmaz Haji


Michael G H Bell

Panagiotis Angeloudis

Solmaz Haji Hosseinloo


This paper transfers the classic frequency-based transit assignment method of Spiess and Florian to containers demonstrating its promise as the basis for a global maritimecontainerassignmentmodel. In this model, containers are carried by shipping lines operating strings (or port rotations) with given service frequencies. An origin–destination matrix of full containers is assigned to these strings to minimize sailing time plus container dwell time at the origin port and any intermediate transhipment ports. This necessitated two significant model extensions. The first involves the repositioning of empty containers so that a net outflow of full containers from any port is balanced by a net inflow of empty containers, and vice versa. As with full containers, empty containers are repositioned to minimize the sum of sailing and dwell time, with a facility to discount the dwell time of empty containers in recognition of the absence of inventory. The second involves the inclusion of an upper limit to the maximum number of container moves per unit time at any port. The dual variable for this constraint provides a shadow price, or surcharge, for loading or unloading acontainer at a congested port. Insight into the interpretation of the dual variables is given by proposition and proof. Model behaviour is illustrated by a simple numerical example. The paper concludes by considering the next steps toward realising acontainerassignmentmodel that can, amongst other things, support the assessment of supply chain vulnerability to maritime disruptions.


Bell, M. G. H., Angeloudis, P., Liu, X., Fonzone, A., & Hosseinloo, S. H. (2011). A frequency-based maritime container assignment model. Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, 45, 1152-1161.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2011-09
Deposit Date Apr 10, 2012
Print ISSN 0191-2615
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 45
Pages 1152-1161
Keywords Assignment; logistics; containers; linear programming; freight transportation; containerisation;
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