Optimal Repositioning of Empty Containers
We worked closely with the Pacer team to understand and document the business requirements of its network planning system. We modeled the movement of containers in a time-space network so every move in the real world corresponded to a move in this network.
We developed a mixed integer programming (MIP) model to determine optimal empty container movements. Then, we packaged the optimization model in a graphical user interface so network planners could easily use it. In the end, we validated model results by comparing them with those in the historical data.
- The system generated a 3 to 5 percent reduction in empty container movement costs.
- By showing that optimal repositioning of containers could increase asset utilization, the system demonstrated that more loaded shipments could be moved using the same number of containers.