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Transport models for food banks

The current issue of the UK's Journal of the Operational Research Society includes an unusual transport problem.  There are numerous variations on the classic Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP), and this is an interesting one derived from an observation of a real-world problem.  The simple VRP is to devise routes for a fleet of vehicles to deliver goods from a base depot to customers.  Not only do you need the routes, but also the assignment of vehicles to those routes, subject to constraints on the capacity of the vehicle and the time/distance covered by a driver on each route.  It's the problem solved daily, by the large courier companies making home deliveries, as well as by heavier vehicles serving shops and businesses.

In their paper "A multi-start optimization-based heuristic for a food bank distribution problem", (JORS vol 69, no5, pp691-706) Mohammed Reihaneh and Ahmed Ghoniem look at the more difficult problem of choosing sites for transfer depots w…

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