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Operations Research

At Waypoint NL, we specialize in transforming the complex world of container logistics into a streamlined and efficient process. Our innovative software solutions cater to logistic operators, easing the challenges of transporting containers to and from inland terminals. We're not just a software company; we're problem-solvers who combine deep industry insights with advanced mathematical knowledge.

Solutions tailored for real-world challenges

Two flagship offerings are our Stowage Planner and Smart Container Planner:

Stowage Planner

Designed for precision and efficiency, our Stowage Planner generates optimal and balanced stowage plans for barges. For a given loading list, our Stowage planner determines an optimal placement of each container, focusing on stability constraints while minimizing overstowage and rehandling moves at terminals. No more error prone manual stowage planning required!

Stowage planning is inherently complex due to its multi-faceted nature—balancing container weights, maximizing space utilization, and complying with safety regulations. It is further complicated by additional restrictions for reefers (i.e., cooled containers) that may require specific slots on the barge, and additional regulations for containers with hazardous materials. Manually creating such plans is not only time-consuming but also prone to errors.

Our stowage planner leverages advanced mathematical algorithms, employing constructive heuristics to quickly generate initial solutions, followed by other optimization techniques such as local search and Adaptive Large Neighborhood Search. This fully automated process, requiring mere seconds of computational power, replaces a time-consuming labor-intensive task while ensuring stowage plans with optimal load distribution and operational efficiency.

An additional benefit of the Stowage Planning is its ability to cope with the uncertainty surrounding container logistics. There are frequent last-minute changes, for instance when a container did not arrive in time, or another container arrives earlier than expected. In such cases, it is beneficial to update existing plans to accommodate earlier transport for these containers. This is hardly feasible to do by hand whereas our algorithm only needs seconds to generate a new stowage plan. This new plan can even take into account which containers are already loaded, allowing for updates of a stowage plan while the process of loading the barge has already started.

Smart Container Planner

This innovative product manages the multimodal movement of containers from pick-up to delivery by coordinating train, barge and truck schedules. It's not just about moving containers; it's about smart scheduling that respects deadlines and optimizes resource utilization. At the click of a button, an optimal schedule for all current containers is presented, which can easily be updated in case of disruptions according to our suggested alternatives.

Container planning challenges arise from the need to coordinate multiple variables—scheduling, route optimization, and deadline adherence. Doing this manually can be overwhelming due to the complexity and dynamic nature of logistics. Our Smart Container Planner uses exact mathematical methods, including mixed-integer programming and column generation, to streamline this process. It ensures precise scheduling and efficient resource allocation, significantly reducing manual effort and error.

Another container planning challenge arises due to unexpected disruptions of trains, barges and trucks. Such disruptions often cause delays that impact not just the current mode of transport, but also the future legs in the journey of the container. The Smart Container Planner uses information on disruptions and automatically suggests alternative routes for the affected containers. This alleviates the workload of planners, who currently need to manually reroute all affected containers.

Complete and real-time automation in optimization

While our expert team, comprising seasoned optimization experts, professors, and industry specialists, forms the backbone of our operations, our standout feature is our commitment to complete automation in optimization processes. This approach is not just about replacing manual efforts; it's about redefining them. By automating complex logistical decisions, we provide planners with robust, efficient solutions that adapt to real-time changes, setting us apart from software that still relies on manual interventions.

Join Us in Redefining Container Logistics

At Waypoint NL, we're not just offering software; we aim for long-term collaboration to revolutionize your logistical operations. Let us show you how our solutions can save you time, optimize resources, and enhance your operational efficiency.

"Together, we can navigate the complexities of container logistics with ease and expertise."