A novel hybrid tabu search approach to container loading

Jiamin Liu*, Yong Yue, Zongran Dong, Carsten Maple, Malcolm Keech

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


The container loading problem, which is significant for a number of industrial sectors, aims to obtain a high space utilisation in the container while satisfying practical constraints. This paper presents a novel hybrid tabu search approach to the container loading problem. A loading heuristic is devised to incorporate heuristic strategies with a handling method for remaining spaces to generate optimal loading arrangements of boxes with stability considered. The tabu search technique, which covers the encoding, evaluation criteria and configuration of neighbourhood and candidate solutions, is used to improve the performance of the loading heuristic. Experimental results with benchmark data show that the hybrid approach provides a better space utilisation than the published approaches under the condition of all loaded boxes with one hundred percent support from below. Moreover, it is shown that the hybrid tabu search can solve problems with the constraints of weight limit and weight distribution with real world data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-807
Number of pages11
JournalComputers and Operations Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Container loading
  • Heuristic
  • Stability
  • Tabu search
  • Weight distribution

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