Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level



Industrial Engineering


Heather Nachtmann

Committee Member

Chase Rainwater

Second Committee Member

Gregory Parnell

Third Committee Member

Jingjing Tong


Branch-and-Price, Cargo Prioritization, Disruption Response, Freight Transportation, Inland Waterways, Integer Programming


Inland waterways face natural and man-made disruptions that may affect navigation and infrastructure operations leading to barge traffic disruptions and economic losses. This dissertation investigates inland waterway disruption responses to intelligently redirect disrupted barges to inland terminals and prioritize offloading while minimizing total cargo value loss. This problem is known in the literature as the cargo prioritization and terminal allocation problem (CPTAP). A previous study formulated the CPTAP as a non-linear integer programming (NLIP) model solved with a genetic algorithm (GA) approach. This dissertation contributes three new and improved approaches to solve the CPTAP.

The first approach is a decomposition based sequential heuristic (DBSH) that reduces the time to obtain a response solution by decomposing the CPTAP into separate cargo prioritization, assignment, and scheduling subproblems. The DBSH integrates the Analytic Hierarchy Process and linear programming to prioritize cargo and allocate barges to terminals. Our findings show that compared to the GA approach, the DBSH is more suited to solve large sized decision problems resulting in similar or reduced cargo value loss and drastically improved computational time.

The second approach formulates CPTAP as a mixed integer linear programming (MILP) model improved through the addition of valid inequalities (MILP'). Due to the complexity of the NLIP, the GA results were validated only for small size instances. This dissertation fills this gap by using the lower bounds of the MILP' model to validate the quality of all prior GA solutions. In addition, a comparison of the MILP' and GA solutions for several real world scenarios show that the MILP' formulation outperforms the NLIP model solved with the GA approach by reducing the total cargo value loss objective.

The third approach reformulates the MILP model via Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition and develops an exact method based on branch-and-price technique to solve the model. Previous approaches obtained optimal solutions for instances of the CPTAP that consist of up to five terminals and nine barges. The main contribution of this new approach is the ability to obtain optimal solutions of larger CPTAP instances involving up to ten terminals and thirty barges in reasonable computational time.