Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10397/27084
Title: Multi-period empty container repositioning with stochastic demand and lost sales
Authors: Zhang, B
Ng, CT 
Cheng, TCE 
Keywords: Empty container repositioning
Heuristic algorithm
Lost sales
Multi-periods
Stochastic demand
Threshold-type optimal policy
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Source: Journal of the Operational Research Society, 2014, v. 65, no. 2, p. 302-319 How to cite?
Journal: Journal of the Operational Research Society 
Abstract: This paper considers repositioning empty containers between multi-ports over multi-periods with stochastic demand and lost sales. The objective is to minimize the total operating cost including container-holding cost, stockout cost, importing cost and exporting cost. First, we formulate the single-port case as an inventory problem over a finite horizon with stochastic import and export of empty containers. The optimal policy for period n is characterized by a pair of critical points (A n, S n), that is, importing empty containers up to A n when the number of empty containers in the port is fewer than A n; exporting empty containers down to S n when the number of empty containers in the port is more than S n; and doing nothing, otherwise. A polynomial-time algorithm is developed to determine the two thresholds, that is, A n and S n, for each period. Next, we formulate the multi-port problem and determine a tight lower bound on the cost function. On the basis of the two-threshold optimal policy for a single port, a polynomial-time algorithm is developed to find an approximate repositioning policy for multi-ports. Simulation results show that the proposed approximate repositioning algorithm performs very effectively and efficiently.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10397/27084
ISSN: 0160-5682
EISSN: 1476-9360
DOI: 10.1057/jors.2012.187
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