The workload balancing problem at air cargo terminals

Huei Chuen Huang, Chulung Lee, Zhiyong Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


We consider a large air cargo handling facility composed of two identical cargo terminals. In order to improve the operational efficiency, the workload must be balanced between the terminals. Thus, we must assign each airline served by the facility to one of the terminals such that (ideally): (1) each terminal has the same total workload, and (2) the workload at each terminal is distributed evenly along the timeline. Complicating the problem is that cargo loads are difficult to predict (stochastic). We develop a stochastic mixed integer linear program model in which a weighted sum of the balance measures is minimized. We employ sample average approximation for the stochastic program and develop an accelerated Benders decomposition algorithm to reduce the computational time. The proposed model can also be applied to partially reassign the airlines for the operational schedule changes. The computational results show that a small number of reassignments are often sufficient to rebalance the workload. The simulation results based on data from a large international airport show that the proposed algorithms efficiently balance the workload and the cargo service time is consistently reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-727
Number of pages23
JournalOR Spectrum
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Oct


  • Air cargo terminal
  • Benders decomposition
  • Simulation
  • Stochastic mixed integer linear program
  • Workload balancing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research


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