A multi-heuristic approach for solving the pre-marshalling problem

Raka Jovanovic, Milan Tuba, Stefan Voß

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


Minimizing the number of reshuffling operations at maritime container terminals incorporates the pre-marshalling problem (PMP) as an important problem. Based on an analysis of existing solution approaches we develop new heuristics utilizing specific properties of problem instances of the PMP. We show that the heuristic performance is highly dependent on these properties. We introduce a new method that exploits a greedy heuristic of four stages, where for each of these stages several different heuristics may be applied. Instead of using randomization to improve the performance of the heuristic, we repetitively generate a number of solutions by using a combination of different heuristics for each stage. In doing so, only a small number of solutions is generated for which we intend that they do not have undesirable properties, contrary to the case when simple randomization is used. Our experiments show that such a deterministic algorithm significantly outperforms the original nondeterministic method. The improvement is twofold, both in the quality of found solutions, and in the computational effort.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCentral European Journal of Operations Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Jul 2015



  • Container terminal
  • Heuristics
  • Logistics
  • Pre-marshalling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research

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