The Auto-Carrier Transportation Problem

We study a real-world distribution problem arising in the automotive field, in which cars, trucks and other vehicles have to be loaded on auto-carriers and then delivered to dealers. The solution of the problem involves both the computation of the routing of the auto-carriers along the road network and the determination of a feasible loading for each auto-carrier. We solve the problem by means of an iterated local search algorithm, that makes use of several inner local search strategies for the routing part, and mathematical modeling and enumeration techniques for the loading part. Extensive computational results on real-world instances show that good savings on the total cost can be obtained within small computational efforts.