IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Strategic Planning of Large-scale, Multimodal and Time-definite Networks for Overnight Express Delivery Services


  • Xue, Yida


The rising demand of express delivery service (EDS) and fierce market competition motivate EDS providers to improve service quality by modifying current networks. This project-based dissertation focuses on strategic planning of a large-scale, multi-modal and time-definite EDS network for a top nationwide EDS provider in China, based on its current network. An air-ground Hub-and-Spoke (H/S) network with a fully interconnected/star shaped structure was established to provide trans-city overnight EDS among relatively developed cities in China. The corresponding models are a combination of the hub location problem with fixed cost and the hub set covering problem. The objective function is to minimize the sum of the hub-location fixed cost and transportation cost under the constraints that all demand nodes are covered by their "home" hub. First, the basic model with linear air cost was proposed. Next, the basic model was extended to include air service selection decisions (or aircraft fleet owner-ship decisions) under the consideration of a cost select function for the backbone air service. Finally, two ex-tension models were studied, one to obtain the optimal aircraft fleet composition (Ext.1) and the other under the constraints of current aircraft fleet composition (Ext.2). Due to the large scale of project instances, hybrid genetic algorithms (GAs) were applied to get desirable solutions in an acceptable time period, but without the guarantee of finding optimal solutions. In particular, the overall problem includes three kinds of decisions: 1) hub location decisions, 2) demand allocation decisions and 3) air service selection decisions. A specific algorithm was proposed for each kind of decision, namely, GAs,local search heuristics and integer programming, respectively. These three algorithms were invoked hierarchically and iteratively to solve the original problem. 5 improvement techniques were proposed to different procedures of the original algorithms in order to improve the performance of the algorithms. Computational tests were conducted to evaluate the performance of the proposed algorithms in terms of computational time and solution quality. Tests under small-scale instances with CAB data sets were conducted to evaluate the overall performance of the proposed algorithm by comparing the solutions with the optimal solutions generated by CPLEX. Tests under large-scale instances with AP data sets and project data sets were conducted to evaluate the performance of the proposed improvement techniques. Since neither the optimal solutions nor solutions by other algorithms under large-scale instances were available to serve as benchmarks,the performance of the tailored algorithms and that of the un-tailored simple GAs was compared. Information about the stability of the algorithms with values of the coefficient of variation (CV) and the reliability of the results with T-tests was also provided. The models and the tailored GAs were applied to real-life instances of the project. This study introduces how the input data were collected and modified and how to deal with pertinent problems. By analyzing and com-paring the basic solutions of Ext.1 and Ext.2, the study not only reveals some important features of the net-work, but also arrives at some general conclusions and provided a dynamic aircraft fleet update strategy to guide the implementation of the project. Finally, scenario planning was executed to help decision-makers balance between costs and corresponding decision risks by identifying critical uncontrollable and controllable factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Xue, Yida, 2013. "Strategic Planning of Large-scale, Multimodal and Time-definite Networks for Overnight Express Delivery Services," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 62214, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
  • Handle: RePEc:dar:wpaper:62214
    Note: for complete metadata visit

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dar:wpaper:62214. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dekanatssekretariat). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.