HMS 2014 Proceeding

Analyzing the practical use of load planning models in intermodal rail transport

Authors:   Hilde Heggen, Kris Braekers, An Caris


The train loading problem involves determining the positions of outbound containers on trains. This paper analyzes the applicability of load planning models described in scientific literature to the real life situation of an intermodal rail operator. A novel train planning model is presented, combining theoretical models from literature with problem characteristics from practice. Results of the train planning model are compared with the current manual planning process of the intermodal rail operator. Next, the load planning model is adapted to a rolling time horizon. Results demonstrate the added value of an automated planning method as a supporting tool for the planning department of the intermodal rail operator. Applying the train planning model in a rolling horizon approach offers an initial load plan for the whole week and enables the manual planners to have a longer term view.

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