Tabu search for ship routing and scheduling
This thesis examines exact and heuristic approaches to solve the Ship Routing and Scheduling Problem (SRSP). The method was developed to address the problem of loading cargos for many customers using heterogeneous vessels. Constraints relate to delivery time windows imposed by customers, the time horizon by which all deliveries must be made and vessel capacities. The objective is to minimise the overall operation cost, where all customers are satisfied. Two types of routing and scheduling are considered, one called single-cargo problem, where only one cargo can be loaded into a ship, and the second type called multi-cargo problem, where multiple products can be carried on a ship to be delivered to different customers. The exact approach comprises two stages. In the first stage, a number of candidate feasible schedules is generated for each ship in the fleet. The second stage is to model the problem as a set partitioning problem (SPP) where the columns are the candidate feasible schedules obtained in the first stage. The heuristic approach uses Tabu Search (TS). Most of the TS operations, such as insert and swap moves, tenure, tabu list, intensification, and diversification are used. The results of a computational investigation are presented. Solution quality and execution time are explored with respect to problem size and parameters controlling the tabu search such as tenure and neighbourhood size. The results showed that the average of the solution gap between TS solution and SPP solution is up to 28% (for small problems) and up to 18% for large problems. However, obtaining an optimal solution requires a large amount of computer time to produce the solution compared to obtaining approximate solutions using the TS approach. The use of Tabu Search for SRSP is novel and the results indicate that it is viable approach for large problems.