Optimization for green container shipping: A review and future research directions

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Kurtulus E.

Marine Science and Technology Bulletin, vol.12, no.3, pp.282-311, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.33714/masteb.1224099
  • Journal Name: Marine Science and Technology Bulletin
  • Journal Indexes: CAB Abstracts, Central & Eastern European Academic Source (CEEAS), Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Directory of Open Access Journals, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.282-311
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Maritime freight transportation is one of the least emissions-producing transportation alternatives in terms of transported tonnage per distance. However, it produces a high amount of emissions as around 80% of international freight transportation is conducted through seas and 20% of maritime transportation is conducted through container shipping. This makes it crucial to reduce emissions in container shipping. In this regard, this study reviewed previous studies on the environmental optimization of container shipping and identified various future research directions. The results showed that in the sea segment of environmental optimization of container shipping, decisions which require further attention include resource allocation, emission reduction technology choice, disruption recovery, freight rate optimization, and shipment scheduling. The decisions that require future research in the port segment are related to internal transportation and handing operations in container terminals (i.e., yard crane deployment, yard truck deployment, yard truck scheduling, yard container stack allocation, yard container retrieval), renewable energy source installation, and emission reduction technology choice. Vessel scheduling and speed optimization decisions are the most frequently studied decisions in the sea segment, but they are rarely considered for inland shipping of containers. In the sea-port combined segment of container shipping, future studies are required in quay crane scheduling, vessel scheduling, container route allocation, ship route allocation vessel deployment, and emission reduction technology choice. The least studied decision in the door-to-door segment of container shipping includes hub location-allocation, empty container relocation, ship route allocation, vessel deployment, environmental taxation and subsidy scheme, emissions reduction technology choice, and speed optimization. It was also demonstrated that modeling of future studies should more frequently consider uncertainties and social sustainability parameters.