Repositioning empty container and leasing container from leasing company are mainly the outcomes of imbalance in trade flows. How to make decision on repositioning or leasing remains a challenge in running shipping service efficiently and economically. To address such challenge, this study aims to derive guide leasing prices. If the realistic leasing price is lower than the guide price, shipping companies should consider leasing containers from leasing company; otherwise repositioning empty container is a more economical option. Both time-varying short-term and long-term guide leasing prices are determined in a shipping network with consideration of empty container devanning and laden container transportation. A two-stage approach is applied to model development. At the first stage, an empty container repositioning model is proposed with consideration of holding, transportation and lifting-on/off costs. Then, inverse optimization technique is applied to deriving the second model in order to determine the guide leasing prices. A realistic shipping network is adopted to compare long-term guide leasing prices among different ports and short-term guide leasing prices on different paths between a pair of ports. The results show that short-term guide leasing prices at a deficit port vary on different paths and they are correlated to the schedule of vessels.
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