The single and multi-item transshipment problem with fixed transshipment costs

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This article deals with supply chain systems in which lateral transshipments are allowed. For a system with two retailers facing stochastic demand, we relax the assumption of negligible fixed transshipment costs, thus, extending existing results for the single-item case and introducing a new model with multiple items. The goal is to determine optimal transshipment and replenishment policies, such that the total centralized expected profit of both retailers is maximized. For the single-item problem with fixed transshipment costs, we develop optimality conditions, analyze the expected profit function, and identify the optimal solution. We extend our analysis to multiple items with joint fixed transshipment costs, a problem that has not been investigated previously in the literature, and show how the optimality conditions may be extended for any number of items. Due to the complexity involved in solving these conditions, we suggest a simple heuristic based on the single-item results. Finally, we conduct a numerical study that provides managerial insights on the solutions obtained in various settings and demonstrates that the suggested heuristic performs very well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-664
Number of pages28
JournalNaval Research Logistics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Fixed costs
  • Multiple items
  • Risk-pooling
  • Supply chains
  • Transshipments


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