The design, procurement, and management of a global ocean transportation (GOT) network is a challenging task. By definition, the network spans multiple continents, involves a variety of business units, and can impact and influence operations from procurement to final assembly. Additionally, the ocean carrier industry has particular pressures in terms of market structure, levels of competitiveness, and transparency (or lack thereof) of pricing and service levels. While the ocean carrier market appears to be global on the surface, in reality most of its activities are directed at supporting specific trade lanes.
This project explored the use of a variety of different transportation relationships between shippers and carriers to improve overall performance. Specifically, working with several different retailers and manufacturers, developed an approach for determining the optimal assignment of for-hire and private fleet assets across a freight transportation network while considering the uncertainty of demand for truckloads.
This research initiative addresses how shippers (buyers) should procure transportation services from truckload (TL) motor carriers (suppliers). TL carriers operate over irregular routes moving directly from origin to destination without any intermediate stops. A significant portion of a TL carrier’s costs is due to the repositioning of empty vehicles (deadheading) from the destination of one load to the origin of the follow-on load.