The feeder network design problem: Application to container services in the Black Sea region
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Global containership liners design their transportation service as hub-and-spoke networks to improve the access to local transportation markets and to reduce operational costs by using short-sea connections for low-volume transportation lanes. These connections from the hub ports to the regional ports constitute the feeder network that is serviced by small- or medium-sized feeder containerships. In our case study investigation, we assume the feeder network design problem of a Turkish short-sea shipping company, in view of the opening of the new Candarli port near Izmir. The cost performance of three alternate feeder network configurations serving the Black Sea region is compared. For this purpose, a mixed-integer linear programming model is developed and an adaptive neighbourhood search algorithm is applied in order to determine the feeder ship fleet size and mix with routes and voyage schedules to minimize operational costs for a given planning period. Numerical results show that the new Candarli port has great potential as hub port in the Black Sea region.
Keywordsmaritime transport hub-and-spoke network feeder network design liner shipping variable neighborhood search container ship routing
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