Parallel computation framework for optimizing trailer routes in bulk transportation


Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Department, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 66506, USA


We consider a rich tanker trailer routing problem with stochastic transit times for chemicals and liquid bulk orders. A typical route of the tanker trailer comprises of sourcing a cleaned and prepped trailer from a pre-wash location, pickup and delivery of chemical orders, cleaning the tanker trailer at a post-wash location after order delivery and prepping for the next order. Unlike traditional vehicle routing problems, the chemical interaction properties of these orders must be accounted for to prevent risk of contamination which could impose complex product-sequencing constraints. For each chemical order, we maintain a list of restricted and approved prior orders, and a route is considered to be feasible if it complies with the prior order compatibility relationships. We present a parallel computation framework that envelops column generation technique for large-scale route evaluations to determine the optimal trailer-order-wash combinations while meeting the chemical compatibility constraints. We perform several experiments to demonstrate the efficacy of our proposed method. Experimental results show that the proposed parallel computation yields a significant improvement in the run time performance. Additionally, we perform sensitivity analysis to show the impact of wash capacity on order coverage.