Logistics optimization for a coal supply chain

Gleb Belov, Natashia L. Boland, Martin W.P. Savelsbergh, Peter J. Stuckey

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The Hunter Valley coal export supply chain in New South Wales, Australia, is of great importance to the Australian economy. Effectively managing its logistics, however, is challenging, because it is a complex system, covering a large geographic area and comprising a rail network, three coal terminals, and a port, and has many stakeholders, e.g., mining companies, port authorities, coal terminal operators, rail infrastructure providers, and above rail operators. We develop a matheuristic logistics planning system which integrates, amongst other concerns, train scheduling, stockpile management, and vessel scheduling. Different components of the supply chain are modeled at different levels of granularity. An extensive computational study has generated insights into the bottlenecks in the logistics system, which are used to guide changes in operating policies and future investments. The planning system uses a solver-independent modeling technology. This allowed us to observe differences between the performance of constraint programming and mixed-integer programming in the context of a rolling-horizon approach, due to custom search heuristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269–300
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Heuristics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2020


  • Custom search strategy
  • Large neighborhood search
  • Packing
  • Rolling horizon
  • Scheduling
  • Solver-independent modeling
  • Tidal constraints

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