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An application of the techniques of linear programming to the transportation of coal

Land, Ailsa Horton (1956) An application of the techniques of linear programming to the transportation of coal. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004493


The object of this study was to find the minimum transport cost routing pattern for coal delivery to coke ovens. The quantities available at each colliery and required at each coke oven were assumed to be the same as the quantities actually available and required during one particular month. A model is developed from the Koopmans transport model of linear programming for minimizing rail ton-mileage travelled by a homogeneous commodity. The method of finding solution to this model, which makes it possible to compute a larger problem by hand than would be possible using the standard computing methods, which is described in detail. The problem peculiar to applying the model to coal transport are considered and the methods of modifying the model to take account of these peculiarities - particularly the non-homogeneity of coal - are discussed. The optimum solution is compared to the actual transport pattern, and it is found that a reduction of 10% in the total ton-mileage could have been made by the application of linear programming. It is estimated that this is equivalent to a saving of the order of £500 thousand per annum in the transport cost of coking coal. The field of problems which remain to be studied is briefly surveyed. This includes applications of the model to all forms of coal transport and to other commodities, and the further research required into computing methods. The "dual" solution of the linear programming model can be interpreted as the price for coal in the different geographical regions. The relevance of these prices to the pricing and development policy in the National Coal Board is discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 1956 Ailsa Horton Land
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Q Science > QA Mathematics

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