Shipping liners need to reposition empty containers after cargoes in laden containers are discharged. Due to world trade imbalance, US & Europe usually has surplus empty containers as they have more import than export, while Asia is short of empty containers. How to integrate empty container repositioning (from surplus region US & Europe to deficit region Asia) with laden container movement so as to minimize repositioning cost while satisfying empty container demand?
An empty container repositioning (ECR) optimization solution was provided with a mixed integer programming model to integrate empty container repositioning with laden container movement. The model decides the type and quantity of empty containers to load and discharge at each port call to meet empty container demand while considering vessel capacity, port capacity and capability, cabotage rule and other business requirements.
Value from Optimization
With ECR solution, shipping liner planners can easily integrate empty container movement plan with laden container movement. Large amount of repositioning cost (loading/discharging cost and transportation cost) is saved after the ECR solution is adopted.