An end-to-end supply chain operation for inland logistics requires coordination and planning among various operations of import pickups, export delivery and empty container positioning for reuse and evacuations of unused containers through the ports. A major business goal of all these operations focuses on reducing the transport costs by utilizing maximum network capacity across active modes of hinterland transport. Designing an efficient network, ensuring that customer commitments are met with timely delivery of containers, is a complex and challenging task. In this paper, we explore optimization opportunities for an inland network with a heavy and unbalanced container traffic flow through its ports. We propose techniques for the strategic placement of empty resources, for optimal allocation at depots-terminals in the presence of time constraints. The novelties of our method include (i) strategic relocation of the resources to high demand areas, maximizing the resource utilization, (ii) triangulation of trucks to maximize available capacity in the network and minimize empty transport legs of round trips. For the empirical evaluation of the model, the inland network data for the North American region of a major shipping line is used. Though NAM specific data is used for the study, the proposed model can be generalised to any other geographical network with a similar set of business constraints.
View Strategic Positioning of Empty Containers and Minimising Backhauls in Inland Supply Chain Network