Enriching the tactical network design of express service carriers with fleet scheduling characteristics

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Express service carriers provide time-guaranteed deliveries of parcels via a network consisting of nodes and hubs. In this, nodes take care of the collection and delivery of parcels, and hubs have the function to consolidate parcels in between the nodes. The tactical network design problem assigns nodes to hubs, determines arcs between hubs, and routes parcels through the network. Afterwards, fleet scheduling creates a schedule for vehicles operated in the network. The strong relation between flow routing and fleet scheduling makes it difficult to optimise the network cost. Due to this complexity, fleet scheduling and network design are usually decoupled. We propose a new tactical network design model that is able to include fleet scheduling characteristics (like vehicle capacities, vehicle balancing, and drivers’ legislations) in the network design. The model is tested on benchmark data based on instances from an express provider, resulting in significant cost reductions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-35
JournalFlexible Services and Manufacturing Journal
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • express service carriers
  • freight transportation
  • tactical hub network design
  • integer programming
  • fleet scheduling
  • heuristics


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