PhD defense by Beizhen Jia

PhD defense by Beizhen Jia

Sustainable Short Sea Roll-on Roll-off Shipping through Optimization of Cargo Stowage and Operations


07.12.2021 kl. 14.00 - 17.00


Sustainable Short Sea Roll-on Roll-off Shipping through Optimization of Cargo Stowage and Operations

By Beizhen Jia


Maritime transport is the backbone of global trade. In Europe, short sea Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) shipping is a dominant transportation mode due to its flexibility and connectivity. The RoRo shipping industry is faced with many challenges to comply with international regulations and remain competitive. However, as scarce research is found related to the RoRo shipping industry, there calls for a need for researchers to investigate inefficiencies and propose solutions, The PhD study contributes to the field of sustainable RoRo cargo operations with a focus on stowage through digitalization and optimization methods. The aim has been to develop prototype solutions that can be implemented and integrated into planning tools to support decision makings of practitioners.

Specifically, this thesis investigates the problems of stowage planning, dual cycling, and cargo discharge time estimation, inspired and motivated by DFDS, one of the largest short sea RoRo shipping companies in Europe. In a close collaboration with the company, primary inefficiencies of current cargo operations have been identified and optimization challenges / problems have been ormulated. Mathematical models, a heuristic, and a statistical framework have been proposed and tested on real data. Results indicate that the solutions proposed have a significant impact on sustainability, in particular, reducing fuel consumption and emissions of the RoRo shipping industry.

The thesis has demonstrated how optimization and statistical methods can contribute to solving complex industrial problems. Results are considered to be of significant interest to both the maritime community and the data science community. The work resulted in four research articles: three published and one under review. Finally, the thesis closes with a conclusion and proposes future work directions in order to build a more digital and sustainable RoRo shipping industry.


Assessment Committee     

Associate professor Kenn Steger-Jensen (chairman)

Department of Materials and Production

Aalborg University



Prof. Dr. Stefan Voss

Hamburg Business School

University of Hamburg



Associate Professor Dario Pacino

DTU Management Engineering

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)



Niels Gorm Malý Rytter

Department of Materials and Production, Aalborg University


The PhD defense will be hosted by Moderator Gang Chen from WMU. The lecture constitutes a 45 minutes presentation by Beizhen Jia followed by a short break and a discussion session with questions from the opponents and the auditorium.

After the defense the department host a small reception/get-together in the auditorium for the defense.



Gang Chen


The auditorium at A.C. Meyersvænge 15, Copenhagen and by Microsoft Teams

Mere information