This paper studies the two-echelon capacitated vehicle routing problem with time windows. The first echelon consists of transferring freight from depots to intermediate facilities (i.e., satellites), whereas the second echelon consists of transferring freight from these facilities to the final customers, within their time windows. We propose two pathbased mathematical formulations for our problem: (1) in one formulation, paths are defined over both first- and second-echelon tours, and (2) in the other one, the first- and second-echelon paths are decomposed. Branch-and-price-based algorithms are developed for both formulations. We compare both formulations and solution methods on a comprehensive set of instances and are able to solve instances up to five satellites and 100 customers to optimality. This paper is the first paper in the literature that solves such large instance sizes.
- column generation
- two-echelon vehicle routing problem with time windows