Strategic planning in LTL logistics - increasing the capacity utilization of trucks
A "less than truckload" (LTL) network organises the transport of small shipping volumes by truck between given depots. To be cost-efficient it is necessary to bundle and unbundle goods on their way, using depots as so-called hubs. Our aim is to develop a strategic plan which is cost-optimal for given average shipping volumes. We consider transshipment and transport costs; to give a realistic estimate of the economies of scale, we charge each truck on a specific route equally, whether it is full or (nearly) empty. Real-sized problems become too hard for standard solvers so that we develop a combination of heuristic strategies (which can, in the end, be combined with solvers like CPLEX). We consider the problem in two flavours: MAPIT requires to transport unsplit goods from one depot to another, using at most two intermediate depots as hubs. IO-MAPIT furthermore considers the circulation of trucks.