Two-echelon transportation optimisation: a meta-narrative analysis

Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu


Freight transportation constitutes one of the main activities that influences economy and society, as it assures a vital link between suppliers and customers and it represents a major source of employment. Multi-echelon distribution is one of the most common strategies adopted by the transportation companies in an aim of cost reduction. Although vehicle routing problems are very common in operational research, they are essentially related to single-echelon cases. This paper presents the main concepts of multi-echelon distribution with cross-docks and a unified notation for two-chelon transportation cost optimization. A systematic review is also presented, in order to list the main issues and methods that can be helpful for scientists and transportation practitioners.


ocation-routing problems; multi-echelon distribution; cross-docking; combinatorial optimisation; systematic review

Full Text:



Amaya, A.; Langevin, A.; Trépanier M. (2007). The capacitated arc routing problem with refill points. Operations Research Letters, Vol. 35, pp. 45-53.

Amaya, A.; Langevin, A.; Trépanier M. (2010). A heuristic method for the capacitated arc routing problem with refill points and multiple loads. Journal of the Operational Research Society, Vol. 61, pp. 1095–1103.

Ambrosino, D.; Scutellà, M. (2005). Distribution network design: new problems and related models. European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 165, pp. 610–624.

Beasley, J. E. (1990). Or-library: distributing test problems by electronic mail. Journal of the Operational Research Society 41, 1069 - 1072. URL :

Brewer, A.M.; Button, K.J.; Hensher, D.A. (2001). Handbook of logistics and supply chain manangement. Pergamon, Amsterdam.

Boccia, M.; Crainic, T.G.; Sforza, A.; Sterle, C. (2010). A Metaheuristic for a Two Echelon Location-Routing Problem. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 6049, , pp. 288-301.

Brotcorne, L.; Huart, A.; Semet, F. (2010). Optimisation des ressources en milieu urbain. Proceedings of the 11th annual conference on operations reseach and decision sciences ROADEF 2010, Toulouse, France.

Brunswicker, J. (1986). Optimale Standort- und Tourenplanung fur die Rohmilcherfassung eines Molkereibetriebes Lit. Munster.

Chao, I. (2002). A tabu-search method for the truck and trailer routing problem. Computers and Operations Research, Vol. 29, pp. 33–51.

Crainic, T. G. (2008). City Logistics. In Chen, Z. L.; Raghavan, S. (eds.). Tutorials in Operations Research 2008. State-of-the-Art Decision Making Tools in the Information-Intensive Age. INFORMS, pp. 181-212.

Crainic, T. G.; Mancini, S.; Perboli, G.; Tadei, R. (2010). Two-echelon vehicle routing problem: a satellite location analysis. Procedia Social and Behavioural Sciences, to appear.

Crainic T. G.; Ricciardi, N.; Storchi, G. (2004). Advanced freight transportation systems for congested urban areas.

Transportation Research Part C, Vol.12, pp. 119-137.

Crainic T. G.; Ricciardi, N.; Storchi, G. (2009). Models for evaluating and planning city logistic transportation systems. Transportation science, to appear.

Del Pia, A.; Filippi, C. (2006). A Variable Neighborhood Descent Algorithm for a Real Waste Collection Problem with Mobile Depots, International Transactions in Operational Research, Vol. 13, pp. 125–141.

Drexl, M. (2008). On some generalized routing problems. PhD. Thesis, University of Nuremberg, Germany.

Gendron, B.; Semet, F.; Strozyk, C. (2002). Adaptive Distribution Systems. TRANSTECH: Transport Technology Product & Process Innovation Management, Presses Universitaires de Valenciennes, pp. 36-42.

Gendron, B.; Semet, F. (2008). Formulations and relaxations for a multi-echelon capacitated location-distribution problem. Computers and Operations Research (2008), doi: 10.1016/j.cor.2008.02.009.

Gerdessen, J. (1996). Vehicle routing problem with trailers, European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 93, pp. 135–147.

Golden, A.A.B.L. (1988). Vehicle routing: methods and studies. North-Holland, Amsterdam, pp.163–197.

Golden, B.L.; Raghavan, S.; Wasil, E.A. (2008). Vehicle routing: Latest advances and challenges, Kluwer, Boston, USA.

Gonzalez-Feliu, J. (2008). Models and methods for the City Logistics : The Two-Echelon Vehicle Routing Problem. PhD. Thesis, Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy.

Gonzalez-Feliu, J.; Morana, J. (2011). Collaborative transportation sharing: from theory to practice via a case study from France. In Yearwood, J.L. and Stranieri, A. (eds.). Technologies for Supporting Reasoning Communities and Collaborative Decision Making: Cooperative Approaches, IGI Global, pp. 252-271.

Gonzalez-Feliu, J.; Peris-Pla, C.; Rakotonarivo, D. (2010). Simulation and optimization methods for logistics pooling approaches. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Value Chain Sustainability, ICOVACS 2010, November 15-17, 2010, Valencia, Spain, pp. 394-401.

Greenhalgh, T.; Robert, G.; Bate, P.; Kyriakidou, O.; Macfarlene, F.; Peacock, R. (2005). Diffusion of innovations for health services organizations: A systematic literature review. Blackwell, Oxford, UK.

Hoff, A.; Løkketangen, A. (2007). A Tabu Search Approach for Milk Collection in Western Norway. In Proceedings of the Sixth Triennial Symposium on Transportation Analysis, TRISTAN, Pukkett, Thailand.

Huart, A.; Brotcorne, L.; Semet, F. (2010). Optimization of multimodal transportation chains in city logistics. Proceedings of the VII Triennial Symposium on Transport Analysis, Tromso, Norway.

Jacobsen, S.; Madsen, O. (1980). A comparative study of heuristics for a two-level routing-location problem. European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 5, pp. 378–387.

Laporte, G. (1988). Location-routing problems. In Golden, A.A.B.L. (ed.). Vehicle routing: methods and studies. North-Holland, Amsterdam, pp.163–197.

Lin, S.W.; Yu, V.F.; Chou, S.Y. (2009). Solving the truck and trailer routing problem based on a simulated annealing heuristic. Computers & Operations Research, Vol. 36, pp. 1683-1692.

Min, H.; Jayaraman, V.; Srivastava, R. (1997). Combined location-routing problems: A synthesis and future research directions. European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 108, pp. 1–15.

Nagy, G.; Salhi, S. (2007). Location routing: Issues, models and methods, European Journal of Operational Research n. 177, pp. 649–672.

Nguyen, V.P.; Prins, C.; Prodhon, C. (2010a). GRASP with learning process for a two-echelon location routing problem. In Proceedings of the 8th conference on Modeling and Simulation, MOSIM 2010, Hammamet, Tunisia.

Nguyen, V.P.; Prins, C.; Prodhon, C. (2010b). A Multi-Start Evolutionary Local Search for the Two-Echelon Location Routing Problem. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 6373/2010, pp. 88-102.

Scheuerer, S. (2006). A Tabu Search Heuristic for the Truck and Trailer Routing Problem. Computers & Operations Research, vol. 33, pp. 894–909.

Semet, F.; Taillard, E. (1993). Solving real-life vehicle routing problems efficiently using tabu search, Annals of Operations Research, Vol. 41, pp. 469–488.

Semet, F. (1995). A two-phase algorithm for partial accessibility constrained vehicle routing problem. Annals of Operations Research, Vol. 61, pp. 45–65.

Tan, K.C.; Chew Y.H.; Lee, L.H.; (2006). A hybrid multi-objective evolutionary algorithm for solving truck and trailer vehicle routing problems. European Journal of Operations Research, Vol. 172, pp. 855-885.

Toth, P.; Vigo, D. (2002). The vehicle routing problem. SIAM Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Philadelphia, USA.

Vahrenkamp, R. (1989). Transportation logistic in rural setting: the case of milk collection,. Technical Report 5/1989, Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Gesamthochschule Kassel.

Yang, F.M.; Xiao H.J. (2007). Models and algorithms for Vehicle Routing Problem with Transshipment Centers. Systems Engineering - Theory & Practice, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 28-35.

Abstract Views

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.


Cited-By (articles included in Crossref)

This journal is a Crossref Cited-by Linking member. This list shows the references that citing the article automatically, if there are. For more information about the system please visit Crossref site

1. Modeling Urban Goods Movement: How to be Oriented with so Many Approaches?
Jesus Gonzalez-Feliu, Jean-Louis Routhier
Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences  vol: 39  first page: 89  year: 2012  
doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.03.093

This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Universitat Politècnica de València

e-ISSN: 1989-9068