Collaborative transportation planning of less-than-truckload freight

A route-based request exchange mechanism

Abstract

Collaborative transportation planning (CTP) within a coalition of small and medium-sized freight carriers can be used as a powerful instrument to improve the operational efficiency of the coalition members. In such coalitions, transportation requests from different carriers are exchanged in order to reduce the total fulfillment costs. In this paper, the CTP for a set of independent carriers exchanging less-than-truckload transportation requests is considered. The realistic restriction that all collaborating partners have only limited capacities in their fleets is included in the consideration. To keep their autonomy, coalition members keep their sensitive information including customer payments and cost structures unexposed during CTP. A new decentralized request exchange mechanism for CTP is proposed while only vehicle routes are considered for exchange. It is tested on some newly generated instances and the CTP solutions are compared with those obtained by isolated planning without collaboration and those obtained by a heuristic approach for the centralized planning problem. The results indicate that our mechanism is very efficient and effective in terms of realizing potential cost-savings by CTP, even when capacity limitations and restrictions on the exposure of information are explicitly considered.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of the project “Kooperative Rundreiseplanung bei rollierender Planung”.

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Correspondence to Herbert Kopfer.

Appendix: CTP instance generation information

Appendix: CTP instance generation information

CTP test instances are generated by combining different PDPTW benchmark instances generated by Li and Lim (2001). Table 3 gives the information how these instances are generated. The second column \(m\) shows how many PDPTW instances are united. The following columns give the detailed information of each used PDPTW instance in the format “PDPTW_instance \((\Delta X, \Delta Y)\) [number of vehicles]”.

Table 3 Test instance generation information

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Wang, X., Kopfer, H. Collaborative transportation planning of less-than-truckload freight. OR Spectrum 36, 357–380 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00291-013-0331-x

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Keywords

  • Collaborative transportation planning
  • Request exchange
  • Freight carrier coalition
  • Request selection and pickup and delivery problem with time windows