Optimizing Transportation and Logistics: VeRoLog 2022 at KLU

After a two-year hiatus due to the ongoing Corona pandemic, the Working Group on Vehicle Routing and Logistics Optimization within EURO, the Association of the European Operational Research Societies – was finally able to meet again in person. Kühne Logistics University (KLU) and Helmut Schmidt University were the hosts of the 2022 VeRoLog conference.

“The VeRoLog conference is one of the main platforms for scientific exchange in the field of route and logistics optimization. Reviving personal interactions between leading academics and practitioners has been very important for the further development of the field and the application of scientific insights into practice,” said Asvin Goel, Organizing Committee member and Professor of Logistics and Supply Chain Management at KLU.

From 12 - 15 June, around 120 researchers and selected practitioners met on KLU’s campus to discuss routing optimization and its relationship with logistics. The conference was supported by industry partners ORTEC, Graphmasters, and PTV Group.

Enhancing Collaboration among Carriers

Can horizontal collaboration in transportation logistics help in using resources more efficiently and avoiding idle capacity? Prof. Richard Hartl (University of Vienna) shed light on the exchange of transportation requests among carriers in his plenary talk. “Very often carriers are reluctant to share all information about requests, making it difficult to organize the exchange in a centralized mode. Decentralized modes avoid the need to share all information but need a smart decision mechanism design,” he explained.

Algorithm Meta-analysis

How can we analyze the impact of specific algorithmic components in optimization algorithms? In his plenary talk, Prof. Kenneth Sörensen (University of Antwerp) compared the analysis of the effects of specific algorithmic components on solving an optimization problem with the analysis of the effects of specific components of a drug for curing a health problem. He argued that meta-analyses as conducted in the scientific literature in medicine can be used as a model to conduct meta-analyses to assess the impact of algorithmic components.

Intensifying Collaboration between Science and Practice

In a special session, ORTEC and Graphmasters shared practical insights and opportunities from an industry perspective. “Driver shortage is a real problem,” Thomas Visser (ORTEC) said in his special session, Challenges and Opportunities in Driver Happiness. The smart use of data might help to optimize planning, obtain reliable schedules, balance workload, and identify drivers’ preferred delivery areas. “We are very interested in working with the scientific community to get closer to the solution of these problems. We have data – let’s get in touch,” he reached out to the researchers present.

Dr. Johannes Kotzerke of Graphmasters explored a different perspective on autonomous driving. “We would like to focus on a more holistic challenge: minimizing a car’s impact on infrastructure while ensuring that drivers can achieve their current goal, which is usually beyond what transportation offers,” he explained. An example is their NUNAV navigation system. With the help of AI-based predictive traffic control, traffic is distributed across the entire road network, not just on a few main traffic arteries.

As part of VeRoLog 2022, the winners of the 2020 and 2021 VeRoLog Doctoral Dissertation Prizes were announced by the Chairman of the Jury, Prof. Karl Doerner (University of Vienna). Katrin Heßler (University of Mainz) won over the jury with her dissertation, "Contributions to Exact Algorithms for Packing and Routing Problems." While Xiangyi Zhang (Polytechnique Montréal) studied "Exact Algorithms for Vehicle Routing Problems with Two-Dimensional Loading Constraints." The amount of the prize is 500 euros.

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Impressions of VeRoLog 2022