The purpose of this paper is to present and solve a new, important planning problem faced by many shipping companies dealing with the transport of bulk products. These shipping companies are committed to carrying some contract cargoes and will try to derive additional revenue from optional spot cargoes. In most of the literature on ship routing and scheduling problems a cargo cannot be transported by more than one ship. By introducing split loads this restriction is removed and each cargo can be transported by several ships. In this paper we propose a large neighbourhood search heuristic for the ship routing and scheduling problem with split loads. Computational results show that the heuristic provides good solutions to real-life instances within reasonable time. It is also shown that introducing split loads can yield significant improvements.
Published April 2010 , 22 pages