Fuel Bunker Management Strategies within Sustainable Container Shipping Operation Considering Disruption and Recovery Policies

Arijit De, Junwei Wang, Manoj Kumar Tiwari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper endeavors to explore the sustainable container shipping problem considering fuel bunker management and provide adequate recovery policies for countering disruption within maritime transportation. This paper addresses the environmental concerns related to fuel consumption and carbon emission within shipping operations and simultaneously presents strategies for countering disruption within the maritime transportation domain. Several studies addressed bunker fuel management strategies, but overlooked the need for integrating it with shipping operations. This paper aims to bridge this research gap by proposing a novel mathematical model and presenting a heuristic procedure combined with a variable neighborhood search algorithm for maximizing the shipping company's profitability, while addressing the vessel routing and scheduling decisions, container loading and unloading operations, selection of bunkering ports, and determining bunkered amount for heavy fuel oil and marine diesel oil. Recovery strategies such as port swapping and rescheduling of vessel route are considered to deal with disruptions related to weather adversities. An illustrative example is presented depicting the realistic scenario and providing results associated with ship routes, vessel speed, bunkering ports, bunkered amounts, fuel consumed by the vessel on each sailing leg, arrival and departure time of the ships, etc. Insights obtained from the analysis performed based on the fuel price, ship's bunkering capacity, adverse weather conditions on various routes, port closure, carbon tax, and fuel consumption provide useful information for shipping company managers. Managerial implications are presented with regard to the impact of fuel prices and carbon tax on shipping operation from the perspective of overall operational cost. Moreover, the results provide important policy insights for shipping company managers in terms of possessing alternate vessel route options for normal scenario and disrupted scenarios including weather adversities on sailing leg or port closure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8758221
Pages (from-to)1089-1111
Number of pages23
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jul 2019


  • Bunker fuel management
  • bunker fuel price
  • bunkering port
  • disruption within shipping logistics
  • maritime transportation
  • variable neighborhood search (VNS)
  • vessel speed


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