Locating hub container ports in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea through a hybrid simulation-analytical approach.
[Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]
Containerized trade between Europe and Asia intensifies as global merchandise trade continues to thrive when the recent decades are concerned. As a consequence, frequent liner services are established on this trade route where the largest container ships of the fleets are employed. Another outcome of the intensive container movement is the establishment of hub-and-spoke networks around the trade routes. Hub-and-spoke networks in maritime transport bear the advantages of economies of scale, flexibility in shipping options and reduction of congestion at busy ports.
Maritime transportation in hub-and-spoke networks is also promoted by the European Union (EU). An important concept, short sea shipping is used in EU legislation to describe movement of cargo by seaborne transport within adjacent ports of Europe and its trading partners. Short sea shipping is regarded as a remedy for the transport related problems EU has been experiencing: oil dependency, congestion and environmental impact. For this purpose EU has initiated various long-term projects
such as “Motorways of the Sea” and “Marco Polo”.
This dissertation’s subject is based on the application of hub-and-spoke network in container shipping
within the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea region. The containerized trade between a set of 20
selected southeast European & other regional ports and Far Eastern countries is configured in a
hypothetical hub-and-spoke network by locating one hub port from the given set. In order to establish
this network, a hybrid simulation-analytical approach, which is a combination of a binary integer programming model and a simulation model, is taken. The proposed model analytically locates hub
ports on annual basis from 2012 to 2021 such that the total cost of transportation is minimised.
According to the system definition, the total transportation costs are composed of three cost items:
terminal handling charges (THC), feeder transportation costs and mainline diversion costs. There are
two dynamic inputs produced by the simulation model; annual growth rate of ports’ container flows
and terminal handling charges. The former varies annually according to log-normal probability
distribution and the latter is a conditional event.
According to the output of the model, Port Said, Limassol and Piraeus are located as hub ports in the
ten year period. As per the analysis of the results, total container volume controlled by the port and
its THC stand out as the strongest factors in determining the optimal hub port. The geographical
centrality and intermediacy of the port on the other hand, are not as strong as the former factors
when they are considered alone. Similarly, the variation in annual volume growth rate does not change
the overall picture too much, as justified by the analysis of alternative models developed.
The dissertation is organised into five chapters following the objective statement: The first chapter is
an introduction about the seaborne trade between Europe/Mediterranean and Asia, overview of prominent container ports on this route and the importance of hub-and-spoke maritime networks in EU transport policy. In the second chapter, a comprehensive literature survey on maritime networks, hub-and-spoke systems in container shipping, hub location problems and hybrid simulation-analytical approaches is provided. Methodology of the research and formulation of the model is explained in
detail in the third chapter. It is followed by the presentation and interpretation of the model results.
In the final chapter, concluding remarks are given with thoughts about potential future research
possibilities on the subject.
Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
||hybrid simulation-analytical modelling approach, container shipping, maritime networks, hub-and-spoke systems, hub location
||11 Nov 2014 16:16
||23 Oct 2016 07:22
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