Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 273, Issue 1–2, pp 433–453 | Cite as

An optimization model for container inventory management

  • Mark Ching-Pong Poo
  • Tsz Leung YipEmail author
S.I.: OR in Transportation


This paper formulates the empty container repositioning (ECR) problem, which is one of the most important issues in the container shipping industry, by running a model to generate the service route of feeder shipping in a dynamic environment. The objective is to reduce the disequilibrium of laden and empty containers. This paper first provides a literature review with the emphasis on the shipping scheduling and modelling of ECR. Second, a network model has been designed to find the optimum size of ship servicing a particular region. A simply ECR policy is tested to demonstrate an essential impact on the profit of a container transport system. With the aid of this heuristic shipping model, ECR is integrated with the tramp ship routing problem under dynamic condition.


Empty container repositioning Container inventory management Artificial bee colony algorithm 



We would like to thank the Guest Editors and two anonymous referees for their extremely helpful comments. This research was partially supported by Research Grant of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Project Code G-YBEG).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Liverpool Logistics, Offshore and Marine Research InstituteLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies, Faculty of BusinessThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung HomHong Kong

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