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Scheduling short-term marine transport of bulk products


  • Dan O. Bausch
  • Gerald G. Brown
  • David Ronen


A multinational company uses a personal computer to schedule a fleet of coastal tankers and barges transporting liquid bulk products among plants, distribution centres (tank farms), and industrial customers. A simple spreadsheet interface cloaks a sophisticated optimization-based decision support system and makes this system useable via a varity of natural languages. The dispatchers, whose native language is not English, and some of whom presumably speak no English at all, communicate via the spreadsheet, and view recommended schedules displayed in Gantt charts both internationally familiar tools. Inside the spreadsheet, a highly detailed simulation can generate every feasible alternate vessel employment schedule, and an integer linear set partitioning model selects one schedule for each vessel so that all loads and deliveries are completed at minimal cost while satisfying all operational requirements. The optimized fleet employment schedule is displyed graphically with hourly time resolution over a planning horizon of 2-3 weeks. Each vessel will customarily make several voyages and many port calls to load and unload products during this time.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan O. Bausch & Gerald G. Brown & David Ronen, 1998. "Scheduling short-term marine transport of bulk products," Maritime Policy & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(4), pages 335-348, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:marpmg:v:25:y:1998:i:4:p:335-348
    DOI: 10.1080/03088839800000057

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gerald G. Brown & Clark E. Goodman & R. Kevin Wood, 1990. "Annual Scheduling of Atlantic Fleet Naval Combatants," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 38(2), pages 249-259, April.
    2. Ronen, David, 1993. "Ship scheduling: The last decade," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 325-333, December.
    3. Gerald G. Brown & Siriphong Lawphongpanich & Katie Podolak Thurman, 1994. "Optimizing ship berthing," Naval Research Logistics (NRL), John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(1), pages 1-15, February.
    4. Gerald G. Brown & Kelly J. Cormican & Siriphong Lawphongpanich & Daniel B. Widdis, 1997. "Optimizing submarine berthing with a persistence incentive," Naval Research Logistics (NRL), John Wiley & Sons, vol. 44(4), pages 301-318, June.
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