ENERPLAN (Energy Efficient Transport Planning) aims at developing green, logistic decision support tools to assist in reducing energy consumption at Maersk Line, thereby decreasing the impact of container shipping on the environment.

Enerplan 1

Reducing the energy comsumption of a shipping network by only 3% is the same as an entire major Danish city not emitting any CO2 for a whole year.

Maersk Line, Technical University of Denmark, and the IT-University. ENERPLAN is a joint collaboration between Maersk Line, the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) Management engineering and the IT University of Copenhagen (ITU). The project has been awarded a 1 million EURO grant by The Danish Council for Strategic Research. The grant will finance two PhD and two post-doctorate positions at DTU and ITU to carry out research on mathematical optimization together with Maersk Line over a four-year period, starting in 2010.

Projects. Network design for container shipping is a complex process of finding the best routes for a fleet of vessels in order to achieve a commercially competitive and economically viable network. The ENERPLAN project seeks to build a network with low overall energy consumption to reduce the impact on the environment. Decision support tools may aid network planners in identifying improvements in the existing services both in terms of providing a successful product and reducing CO2 emissions in the shipping network. Operations research and mathematical modeling is often applied to logistics and network design.

Network design

Liner Service Network Design

The project aims at finding improved solutions to the network design through advanced heuristic algorithms and exploring mathematical models of the problem. The Cargo allocation problem and a greedy construction heuristic are parts of the project.

The Cargo Allocation Problem with Empty Repositioning (CAPER) is a mathematical model to determine the routing of full containers and empty equipment in a service network. It decides empty equipment flows and selects the most profitable cargo to transport. The article will be published in INFOR.

The Multiple Quadratic Knapsack Problem is used as model for the liner shipping network design problem applying a greedy heuristic to solve the problem. It was presented at TRISTAN VII.

The container network repositioning problem

Tackling the container network repositioning problem, in which container vessels are substituted for one another to create new services as well as to ensure all vessels follow a proper maintenance schedule.

This part of the container shipping network lies hidden from customers, but provides a great potential for environmental and cost savings. Solving the repositioning problem involves bridging the gap between classical artificial intelligence planning and mathematical optimization techniques. 

For further information please contact Kevin Tierney, kevt@itu.dk

Optimization of container line networks with flexible demands

The project will investigate how a container shipping network should adjust to changes in the basic cost structure (Vessels, bunker, port costs, ..), by modeling and solving the Liner Shipping Network Design Problem, a representation of the operational and commercial rules governing liner shipping. This will be done using Operations research techniques such as column generation and metaheuristics. The work will expand on current state of the art results in the field and attempt to improve these methods and develop new ones, with a focus on how such a network should adjust to cost and demand changes.

For further information please contact Christian Plum, christian.edinger.munk.plum@maersk.com