PhD defence of Judith Mulder on 1 July 2016

On Friday 1 July 2016 Judith will defend her PhD thesis entitled 'Network design and robust scheduling in liner shipping'. Supervisor is Professor Rommert Dekker (Erasmus School of Economics) and the co-supervisor is Dr. Willem van Jaarsveld. Other members of the Doctoral Committee are Professor Rob Zuidwijk, Professor Leo Kroon (both from Erasmus School of Economics) and Professor Harilaos Psaraftis (Technical University of Denmark).

Time and location

The PhD defence will take place in the Senate Hall of Erasmus University Rotterdam and will start at 09.30 hrs.

About Judith Mulder

Judith Mulder was born on July 22, 1988 in Delft. She received her bachelor's and master's degree from Erasmus University Rotterdam in Econometrics and Management Science, with a specialization in Quantitative Logistics and Operational Research. She also holds a bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics from Delft University of Technology. In 2011, Judith started her PhD research at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her main research interest is operations research, in particular problems related to maritime transportation.

Judith has presented her research at various international conferences, such as EURO, IFORS, LOGMS, TSL Workshop, OR and ODYSSEUS. A paper on which the second chapter of her dissertation is based, has been published in the European Journal of Operational Research. The first chapter of this dissertation has been accepted for publication in a book on Ports and Networks.

Abstract of 'Network Design and Robust Scheduling in Liner Shipping'

Liner ships sail according to a published timetable specifying the arrival and departure times in ports. Liner shipping networks consist of cyclic routes that are usually serviced once a week. In this way, customers know when they can pick up or deliver their containers to a port. Each route in the network is sailed using one or more ships with possibly different capacities. The network is used to satisfy the given container demand between ports. Liner companies obtain a revenue for each container that they transport between two ports. Furthermore, they incur costs for operating the network: fixed ship costs, bunker costs, (un)loading and transshipment costs and lost sales costs. The first part of this thesis proposes methods to design liner networks that maximize profit for the liner companies.

Ships will incur delays when executing a route, resulting in uncertain arrival and departure times. Delayed arrivals can be very costly for liner companies, hence they want their schedules to be reliable. The reliability of a route can be increased by including buffer time in the route, which can be used to capture a delay without incurring delay costs. Furthermore, ships can reduce delays by speeding up, which brings about additional costs. The second part of this thesis proposes methods to minimize total costs by reallocating buffer times and determining recovery policies specifying how to react on incurred delays.

More information

Mulder's' PhD research project is conducted within the Erasmus Doctoral Programme organized by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), the joint research institute of Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) and Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).

For more information about this ceremony, please contact Ronald de Groot, Communication Officer of the Erasmus School of Economics phone +31 10 408 1762 or by e-mail: