Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2008

Publication Title

European Journal of Operational Research





First Page



Heuristics, Container loading problem, Dynamic space decomposition, Holistic loading, Tertiary tree

Last Page



Increasing fuel costs, post-911 security concerns, and economic globalization provide a strong incentive for container carriers to use available container space more efficiently, thereby minimizing the number of container trips and reducing socio-economic vulnerability. A heuristic algorithm based on a tertiary tree model is proposed to handle the container loading problem (CLP) with weakly heterogeneous boxes. A dynamic space decomposition method based on the tertiary tree structure is developed to partition the remaining container space after a block of homogeneous rectangular boxes is loaded into a container. This decomposition approach, together with an optimal-fitting sequencing and an inner-right-corner-occupying placement rule, permits a holistic loading strategy to pack a container. Comparative studies with existing algorithms and an illustrative example demonstrate the efficiency of this algorithm.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in European Journal of Operational Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in European Journal of Operational Research, 191, 1 (2008)

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