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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Optimization of empty container movements using “street-turn” strategy : application to Metro Vancouver area Zhang, Hanxing


This paper focuses on the regional empty container repositioning problem. We propose a more practical model to optimize regional empty container movements. With the framework, we evaluate the effectiveness of “street-turn” strategy and provide insights on “street-turn” operation in Metro Vancouver area. We conduct interviews with local industry professionals to collect information about current empty container operations. The major findings from this research are: (1) “Street-turn” strategy reduces empty container repositioning cost majorly from transportation and gate fees. (2) “Street-turn” strategy is more effective in trade-balanced environment than trade-imbalanced environment. (3) The number of participants in the transport network has a positive impact on the feasibility and effectiveness of “street-turn” strategy. (4) The variance in the supply and demand of empty containers increases the variance in the effectiveness of “street-turn” strategy. (5) Container users have higher incentive to promote “street-turn” operations than shipping lines. (6) “Street-turn” strategy has been conducted jointly by a few importers and exporters in Metro Vancouver area. The major challenge is that container information is not shared among participants. (7) Unlike the situation in LA/LB port region, shipping lines have not yet taken the initiative to promote “street-turn” interchanges in Metro Vancouver area. The successful implementation of “street-turn” strategy depends on the participation of each player. With a high level of information visibility, the proposed model can be employed as a decision support tool to identify “street-turn” opportunities and optimize empty container movements within the system.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada