Strategic planning of empty container repositioning in the transpacific market: a case study

Trade imbalances between the USA and other regions of the world, especially Asian countries, have worsened the situation, and the intermodal coordination of empty containers has become a very challenging issue for shipping lines. The topic represents a very complex logistics problem with practical applications. This analysis focused on one of the top seven shipping companies globally that is particularly strong on the transpacific trade market. The main goal was to model the operations of the company and introduce new strategies to reposition empty containers more efficiently. The concept of rail terminals should be implemented to provide economies of scale to reduce costs. Ports on the East Coast, which are not utilized to transport empty containers back to Asia, also played a role in the strategies considered in this study. The results also indicated that the use of a dedicated fleet of trucks to handle local transportation would provide significant cost savings. Based on the results, all three strategies – use of East Coast ports, use of terminals, and use of dedicated fleet – provide significant cost savings (11.3%, 15.2%, and 15.4%, respectively). Further analysis is necessary to assess practical implications of such strategies as well as to improve the proposed model.


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  • Accession Number: 01535631
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 7 2014 3:01PM