Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
XML PDF e-pub
PDF e-Pub

Section: New Results

New algorithms for different vehicle routing problems

In [7], we propose a branch-cut-and-price algorithm for the two-echelon capacitated vehicle routing problem in which delivery of products from a depot to customers is performed using intermediate depots called satellites. We introduce a new route based formulation for the problem which does not use variables to determine product flows in satellites. Second, we introduce a new branching strategy which significantly decreases the size of the branch-and-bound tree. Third, we introduce a new family of satellite supply inequalities, and we empirically show that it improves the quality of the dual bound at the root node of the branch-and-bound tree. Finally, extensive numerical experiments reveal that our algorithm can solve to optimality all literature instances with up to 200 customers and 10 satellites for the first time and thus double the size of instances which could be solved to optimality.

In [22], [21], we are interested in the exact solution of the vehicle routing problem with backhauls (VRPB), a classical vehicle routing variant with two types of customers: linehaul (delivery) and backhaul (pickup) ones. We propose two branch-cut-and-price (BCP) algorithms for the VRPB. The first of them follows the traditional approach with one pricing subproblem, whereas the second one exploits the linehaul/backhaul customer partitioning and defines two pricing subproblems. The methods incorporate elements of state-of-the-art BCP algorithms, such as rounded capacity cuts, limited-memory rank-1 cuts, strong branching, route enumeration, arc elimination using reduced costs and dual stabilization. Computational experiments show that the proposed algorithms are capable of obtaining optimal solutions for all existing benchmark instances with up to 200 customers, many of them for the first time. It is observed that the approach involving two pricing subproblems is more efficient computationally than the traditional one. Moreover, new instances are also proposed for which we provide tight bounds. Also, we provide results for benchmark instances of the heterogeneous fixed fleet VRPB and the VRPB with time windows.

In [20], we consider the standard Capacitated Location-Routing Problem (LRP), which is the combination of two canonical combinatorial optimization problems : Facility Location Problem (FLP), and Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP). We have extended the Branch-and-Cut-and-Price Algorithm from [11] to solve a Mixed Integer Programming (MIP) formulation with and exponential number of varialbes. A new family of Route Load Knapsack valid inequalites is proposed to strengthen the formulation. Preliminary results showed that our algorithm could solve to optimality, for the first time, 12 open instances of the most difficult classes of LRP instances.

In the first echelon of the two-echelon stochastic multi-period capacitated location-routing problem (2E-SM-CLRP), one has to decide the number and location of warehouse platforms as well as the intermediate distribution platforms for each period; while fixing the capacity of the links between them. The system must be dimensioned to enable an efficient distribution of goods to customers under a stochastic and time-varying demand. In the second echelon of the 2E-SM-CLRP, the goal is to construct vehicle routes that visit customers from operating distribution platforms. The objective is to minimize the total expected cost. We model this hierarchical decision problem as a two-stage stochastic program with integer recourse. The first-stage includes location and capacity decisions to be fixed at each period over the planning horizon, while routing decisions of the second echelon are determined in the recourse problem. In [16], [26], we propose a Benders decomposition approach to solve this model. In the proposed approach, the location and capacity decisions are taken by solving the Benders master problem. After these first-stage decisions are fixed, the resulting subproblem is a capacitated vehicle-routing problem with capacitated multi-depot (CVRP-CMD) that is solved by a branch-cut-and-price algorithm. Computational experiments show that instances of realistic size can be solved optimally within reasonable time, and that relevant managerial insights are derived on the behavior of the design decisions under the stochastic multi-period characterization of the planning horizon.

Much of the existing research on electric vehicle routing problems (E-VRPs) assumes that the charging stations (CSs) can simultaneously charge an unlimited number of electric vehicles, but this is not the case. In [29], we investigate how to model and solve E-VRPs taking into account these capacity restrictions. In particular, we study an E-VRP with non-linear charging functions, multiple charging technologies, en route charging, and variable charging quantities, while explicitly accounting for the capacity of CSs expressed in the number of chargers. We refer to this problem as the E-VRP with non-linear charging functions and capacitated stations (E-VRP-NL-C). This problem advances the E-VRP literature by considering the scheduling of charging operations at each CS. We first introduce two mixed integer linear programming formulations showing how CS capacity constraints can be incorporated into E-VRP models. We then introduce an algorithmic framework to the E-VRP-NL-C, that iterates between two main components: a route generator and a solution assembler. The route generator uses an iterated local search algorithm to build a pool of high-quality routes. The solution assembler applies a branch-and-cut algorithm to select a subset of routes from the pool. We report on computational experiments comparing four different assembly strategies on a large and diverse set of instances. Our results show that our algorithm deals with the CS capacity constraints effectively. Furthermore, considering the well-known uncapacitated version of the E-VRP-NL-C, our solution method identifies new best-known solutions for 80 out of 120 instances.