Maritime transportation is accountable for 2.7% of the worlds CO2 emissions and the liner shipping industry is committed to a slow steaming policy to provide low cost and environmentally conscious global transport of goods without compromising the level of service. The potential for making cost effective and energy efficient liner shipping networks using operations research is huge and neglected. The implementation of logistic planning tools based upon operations research has enhanced performance of both airlines, railways and general transportation companies, but within the field of liner shipping very little operations research has been done. We believe that access to domain knowledge and data is an entry barrier for researchers to approach the important liner shipping network design problem. This paper presents a thorough description of the liner shipping domain applied to network design along with a rich integer programming model based on the services, that constitute the fixed schedule of a liner shipping company. The model may be relaxed as well as decomposed. The design of a benchmark suite of data instances to reflect the business structure of a global liner shipping network is discussed. The paper is motivated by providing easy access to the domain and the data sources of liner shipping for operations researchers in general. A set of data instances with offset in real world data is presented and made available upon request. Future work is to provide computational results for the instances.
Network design; Iner shipping; Mathematical programming