Multi-Dimensional Commodity Covering for Tariff Selection in Transportation

Authors Felix G. König, Jannik Matuschke, Alexander Richter

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Felix G. König
Jannik Matuschke
Alexander Richter

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Felix G. König, Jannik Matuschke, and Alexander Richter. Multi-Dimensional Commodity Covering for Tariff Selection in Transportation. In 12th Workshop on Algorithmic Approaches for Transportation Modelling, Optimization, and Systems. Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 25, pp. 58-70, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2012)


In this paper, we study a multi-dimensional commodity covering problem, which we encountered as a subproblem in optimizing large scale transportation networks in logistics. The problem asks for a selection of containers for transporting a given set of commodities, each commodity having different extensions of properties such as weight or volume. Each container can be selected multiple times and is specified by a fixed charge and capacities in the relevant properties. The task is to find a cost minimal collection of containers and a feasible assignment of the demand to all selected containers. From theoretical point of view, by exploring similarities to the well known SetCover problem, we derive NP-hardness and see that the non-approximability result known for set cover also carries over to our problem. For practical applications we need very fast heuristics to be integrated into a meta-heuristic framework that - depending on the context - either provide feasible near optimal solutions or only estimate the cost value of an optimal solution. We develop and analyze a flexible family of greedy algorithms that meet these challenges. In order to find best-performing configurations for different requirements of the meta-heuristic framework, we provide an extensive computational study on random and real world instance sets obtained from our project partner 4flow AG. We outline a trade-off between running times and solution quality and conclude that the proposed methods achieve the accuracy and efficiency necessary for serving as a key ingredient in more complex meta-heuristics enabling the optimization of large-scale networks.
  • Covering
  • Heuristics
  • Transportation
  • Tariff Selection


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