The impact on fuel costs when optimizing speed and weight in a single truck transportation system.

University essay from Luleå tekniska universitet/Institutionen för ekonomi, teknik och samhälle

Abstract: Traditionally, route planning in the transportation sector has only focused on minimizing the total distance driven when transporting goods or people. This is often done using software tools since planning the optimal route is a complex task that is hard to solve by hand. While driving the shortest distance possible is an effort towards lowering fuel costs, which is one of the largest operating costs for truck transportation companies, it is not necessarily the most fuel efficient route. Recently, research has emerged regarding fuel minimizing route planning in order to perform transport operations at the lowest fuel cost possible. One factor contributing to fuel consumption is vehicle speed, since high speed means high wind resistance. Fuel can therefore be conserved by driving at lower speeds. Though lower speeds means longer travelling time, meaning that if the route is disrupted, causing a delay, there is an increased risk that all tasks cannot be performed during the started working day. The purpose of this thesis is to determine how to plan fuel efficient routes in a transportation system prone to disruptions. It was conducted at Scania to further understand how their truck customers can increase profitability in their businesses by planning fuel efficient routes. The truck transportation business is under heavy pressure with low margins. It is therefore valuable to plan fuel efficient routes. The outcome of this thesis is two linear programming models for route planning that take truck capacity, customer demand and time windows for delivery into account. The first model can be used during planning to find a fuel efficient route in order to deliver to all customers to the lowest fuel cost possible. The model gives a route with predetermined average speeds between the customers, as well as arrival time at each customer. When appropriate, the truck is proposed to drive at a slightly decreased speed, to lower wind resistance and thereby fuel consumption. By also taking load weight into account, the route can be planned such that a heavy part of the load is delivered early, reducing the weight carried for the rest of the route. The proposed model accomplishes on average 6.3 % lower fuel cost, compared to the most commonly used route planning model, where the shortest total driving distance is sought. If something would happen that disrupts the route, it might be impossible to deliver all customers before the day ends. To handle those situations, a second model is proposed. Once the transport is delayed, the model will revise the initial route and propose a new route based on a cost of delaying a delivery. The goal is then to deliver as much as possible to the lowest possible cost. The new route will still consist of predetermined average speeds and arrival times. The proposed model is a tool for handling the complex task of recalculating routes once a disruption occurs. In summary, the first model provides support to plan a route that potentially lowers the operational costs for truck transportation companies. If the planned route is disrupted, the second model will revise it and give a new route with new speeds and arrival times. If possible, the revised route will still result in making all deliveries, otherwise the model will postpone the smallest deliveries to the next day. Together, the two models serve as a valuable support for truck transport companies that want to increase their profitability by lowering their operational costs. 

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