Empty container management at ports considering pollution, repair options, and street-turns

Norberto Sáinz Bernat, Frederik Schulte, Stefan Voß, Jürgen Böse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


International trade imbalances make the management of empty containers within shipping networks an important economic and ecological problem.While import-dominated ports accumulate large amounts of empty containers, export-dominated ports need them as transport resources, requiring a repositioning transportation of empty containers on the sea and land side. Acknowledging the importance of the problem, plenty of respective literature has appeared. Since periodic review inventory management systems allow to model the inherent stochasticity of empty container transportation, they have emerged as a major solution approach in the domain. Nevertheless, existing approaches often omit crucial economic and ecological real world conditions determining the success of empty container management. Pollution, repair options, and street-turns are important aspects in this context. In this work, we present new stochastic review policies incorporating a realistic allocation scheme for empty container emissions, realistic maintenance, and repair options as well as street-turns. We analyze the optimality of the proposed polices and evaluate them in a simulationmodel with metaheuristic parameter search based on extensive real-world data fromamajor global shipping company operating in Latin America. Results provide insights for academics and practitioners about the economic and ecological impact of the distinct empty container management polices within a shipping network.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3847163
JournalMathematical Problems in Engineering
StatePublished - 2016


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