Invent is a generic, industrial software for solving maritime inventory routing problems. These problems involve transporting goods by ship between ports where the goods are produced and consumed, while avoiding stockouts and storage overflows in the ports.
Maritime inventory routing problems involve the coordination of vessel routing and inventory management. Compared to road-based problems, maritime problems have several characteristics that make this integration relevant. The quantities transported are large, both in terms of vessel capacity and storage capacity at production and consumption facilities. In addition, travel times between facilities are considerable. This leads to problems where routing decisions have a large impact on the inventory levels and vice versa.
Invent is a software library for solving maritime inventory problems. It also handles cases that involve tramp shipping, i.e. transportation demands that are not related to storage facilities. Common constraints, such as draft limits, onboard stowage and cleaning requirements between different products, are handled.
The Invent library is built into a command line application that reads problem data from an XML file, creates and optimizes a solution, and writes the result to a new XML file. More advanced integration with other software components is straightforward. The system has been developed on Windows, and ports to other platforms will be made available on request.