Communications of the IIMA


It is very common in an enterprise daily operation to solve Container Loading Problem (CLP). Especially, it is an important issue in the logistic management. The problem aims to determine the arrangement of objects with the best utilization ratio in a container. It belongs to the combinatorial optimization problem. In this paper, a two-phased method focusing on the improvement of the efficiency and on the reducing of the problem size is proposed. In the first phase, a constructive method incorporated with a decision rule borrowing from ant colony optimization is used to construct tower set. The pheromone updating mechanism is useful in choosing proper object while constructing tower using decision rule. In the second phase, an improvement method based on genetic algorithm is used. First, the method sorts the towers by the utilization ratio and then assigns a number to each tower accordingly. The chromosome is a sequence of tower numbers which represents the arrangement of towers in the container’s bottom plane. The fitness function is defined as the utilization ratio. A new structure to store the pheromone is proposed which can help the ant in choosing the appropriate object while constructing tower. In this way, the efficiency of the method and the utilization of the container are improved.