CSL Master theses topics

CSL Master theses topics

A list of possible topics to write a Master thesis under the supervision of the center’s researchers.

The research interests of the center’s members revolve around two major fields: economics and operations research.

The aim of our research work is to explore the use of the theoretical and empirical results of these two fields to innovate in the transport and logistics area to help improving the competence of the Norwegian industry. 

Here is a list of possible topics to write a Master thesis under the supervision of the center’s researchers:

  • Impact of Climate Change on Vessel Operations

    Impact of Climate Change on Vessel Operations

    Utilizing weather data and AIS data, we aim to evaluate the influence of climatic events on routine maritime trade operations. Significant events, such as the draught restriction in the Panama Canal due to severe droughts, have resulted in costlier transits and prolonged waiting time durations. This thesis can investigate the externality cost of severe weather patterns, such as intensified El Niño.

    Supervisor: Gabriel Fuentes

  • Climate Policy and Its Effect on Maritime Trade

    Climate Policy and Its Effect on Maritime Trade

    By quantifying shipping emissions, including greenhouse gases (GHGs) and sulfur, a thesis on this topic can investigate the impact of maritime climate-related policies on the overall trajectory of vessel emissions. There's ongoing debate surrounding regulations like the IMO 2020 Sulphur Cap and the introduction of measures like the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII). We will evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of these regulations.

    Supervisor: Gabriel Fuentes

  • Decision Support for Maritime Investments Amid Uncertain Climate Policies

    Decision Support for Maritime Investments Amid Uncertain Climate Policies

    Maritime investments face uncertainties with evolving climate-related policies. A seemingly recent and valuable asset today might become obsolete or uncompetitive due to policy shifts in the near future. A thesis on this topic could aim to introduce a model that navigates potential scenarios related to the progression of climate policies.

    Supervisor: Gabriel Fuentes

  • Dark Fleet Economics in Grain and Oil Trade

    Dark Fleet Economics in Grain and Oil Trade

    The phenomenon of "dark fleets" refers to vessels that operate in hidden or illegal capacities, often eluding detection through various means. Leveraging a blend of AIS (Automatic Identification System) data and satellite optical imagery, we can observe the activities of these fleets, particularly in the grain and oil trade sectors. Your thesis could focus on the externalities of the dark fleet on the legal market or the effect on trading patterns.

    Working with Vake.ai

    Supervisor: Evelina Gavrilova-Zoutman and Gabriel Fuentes

  • Tourist management

    Tourist management

    In 2019 before the sanitary emergency started, Norway received 5.88 million tourists representing 7,04 billion dollars and 1,7% of its GDP, reaching the highest levels in 2017. In this year, the tourism industry represented nearly 4,2% of Norwegian GDP and attracted around 170 billion NOK in total tourism consumption. These numbers show the potential of this industry for economic growth and depict some challenges. Particularly when we put the number of tourists in relation to the population of the country, it becomes clear the necessity to take a closer look at current policies and opportunities from point of view of operation research. 

    For the City of Bergen, the cruise industry is especially important. Bergen receives the largest number of cruise tourists in the country, making of it one of the most visited cities in Scandinavia. 

    It might be interesting for cruise companies to have touristic recommendations for their passengers, itineraries that provide the most benefits out the visit, and ensure the passengers will be back to the ship on time. But also, from the city hall perspective, it might be desirable to have a more homogenous distribution of the visitors across town in order to avoid crowds. Additionally, according to Bergen’s urbanization plan, there could be desirable areas of the city where it is more interesting to bring visitors and the money they spend on their trip, in the frame of urban development, social welfare, and environment. 

    In order to assess the different locations, it is necessary to understand the city trends, socio-economic indicators, passenger preferences, and tourist offers, among others. Then use this information as support for an optimization model, allowing to suggest the best routes, both for the tourists and the City of Bergen. 

    Main supervisor: PhD-candidate Andres Felipe Velez Correa.

  • Helicopter fleet composition and allocation

    Helicopter fleet composition and allocation

    In the oil and gas industry, helicopters are widely used for personnel and cargo transport between offshore platforms and heliports on the land. Therefore, the decision-making regarding the composition of the helicopter fleet and the allocation of this resource is vital for a stable operation of oil & gas exploration and extraction. Such tactical decision affects various aspects of an oil company, including contract utilization, carbon footprint, plan robustness and operating expenses.

    However, the common practice in the industry is that the decision of fleet composition and allocation is still manually made based on demand forecast and individual’s experience. Such decision-making process cannot guarantee optimal solutions, is not scalable, and would likely lead to low resource utilization rate and high operating cost.

    We are now seeing a clear trend in the oil and gas industry which is to apply automation in its various and complex decision-making process with the support of optimization. In terms of the helicopter fleet composition and allocation problem in this case, a decision support tool is expected to facilitate the decision of helicopter chattering and deployment with stochastic demand for the next planning period. Moreover, resource sharing, namely utilizing idle helicopter resources from other operators, is also a promising opportunity to increase the overall efficiency on an industry level and hence is becoming increasingly popular among different oil companies and helicopter operators.

    With its trademark solution DaWinci as the industry standard in personnel logistics management, Quorum is the software supplier for many of the largest oil and gas companies in the world. Quorum Software Norway, as the market leader, is now cooperating with several major players in the oil and gas industry to address various new challenges with new software planning tools. This master project will take advantage of Quorum’s expertise in logistics management in oil and gas industry, and look at some of the following issues:

    • Literature review on related problems and topics
    • Mathematical formulation of the problem
    • Study the uncertainty involved in this problem and methods to handle such stochasticity
    • Study and develop necessary solution methods
    • Analyze the numerical results based on a realistic problem instance from Quorum

    Students choosing this project should expect to visit Quorum Software’s Bergen office to work alongside our optimization engineers for up to a week.

    Collaborator: Quorum Software, contact person Xin Wang (xin.e.wang@quorumsoftware.com).

    Supervisor: Yewen Gu.

  • Electric vehicles: operation, charging, network, logistics

    Electric vehicles: operation, charging, network, logistics

    The penetration of electric vehicles (EVs) in the Norwegian market is massive. I have dedicated part of my recent research to the optimization of charging schedules of EVs and to compare how the optimal patterns differ from the actual behaviour of EV owners. These are only examples from the broad range of topics in the research agenda on EVs nowadays. There is a lot of literature about it. I would be open to discuss your specific interests and to provide you with references that could set the basis for a potentially relevant master thesis on EVs.

    Supervisor: Mario Guajardo.

  • What is the value of better weather forecasts?

    What is the value of better weather forecasts?

    Using empirical case studies to quantify how more accurate short-term weather forecasting can improve chartering decisions for a ship operator.

    Working with company Western Bulk.

    Supervisor: Gabriel Fuentes

  • Topics on Shipping economics and finance

    Topics on Shipping economics and finance

    We have comprehensive data on micro-level commodity trades, vessel behaviors, satellite-based information, in addition to the commodity and freight market data.  By addressing practical challenges faced by shipping companies, theses can be developed based on hands-on projects in collabration with shipping companies, banks or insurance companies. The following aspects serve as broad examples:

    Topic 1: Trade flow and freight rate forecasting

    Topic 2: Investment horizon. How to balance asset lifespan, carbon neutral regulation and investment costs.

    Topic 3: Carbon costs in transportation

    Topic 4: ESG disclosure in shipping & offshore industry

    Topic 5: Climate change and credit risk in shipping & offshore

    Supervisor: Haiying Jia

  • Topics on Marine Insurance

    Topics on Marine Insurance

    Topic 1: Marine accident analysis w.r.t. attributes such as trade, location, or crew

    Topic 2: Automated underwriting in marine insurance

    Topic 3: Risk exposure vs. financial return

    Supervisor: Haiying Jia

  • Evacuation of large passenger ships

    Evacuation of large passenger ships

    Large cruise ships can be hard to exit in emergency situations and face unique challenges regarding evacuation. The ship’s steel hull has so far precluded the use of wireless technologies, which implies that all communications must be cabled-based, not even cell-phones work in an emergency. Another challenge is that evacuation plans are static and cannot be adapted as the emergency unfolds, something important in this context as different factors, such as winds, waves and tilting of the boat, affect passenger behaviour and the evacuation itself. In an ongoing project we try to develop a practical and theoretically sound stochastic and dynamic evacuation model for a large passenger ships aided by innovative wireless technology.

    The project is in cooperation with NTNU (that covers the technical parts with respect to engineering and ship design) while NHH cover the dynamic modeling of an evacuation. The new wireless technology comes from ScanReach at Sotra - https://www.scanreach.com/ - and they are closely involved in the project.

    Possible theses would cover aspects (to be agreed upon between supervisor and student) of modeling the evacuation or solving resulting models. There are many challenges in the modeling so that the resulting model is fast, which is required in an emergency.

    Supervisor: Stein W. Wallace

  • Cargo Scheduling

    Cargo Scheduling

    For e.g. breakbulk and chemical shipping companies it is challenging to find out which cargoes fit best together into a voyage such that all cargoes can be transported on voyages and ships travel the least possible distance. The aim of this topic is to create a model with typical restrictions and find a good weighing of the different aspects of the objective function. In cooperation with Dataloy Systems, you can use data to develop and test your model as well as discuss the underlying concepts.

    Supervisor: Julio Cesar Goez

  • Analysis of high-frequency supply data for oil tankers

    Analysis of high-frequency supply data for oil tankers

    Using unique daily spatial data for vessel employment, analyze how regional freight rate changes are driven by supply and demand, and whether the specifications and operator of a ship matters for its attractiveness in the market.

    Supervisor: Haiying Jia.

  • Small city logistics

    Small city logistics

    Urban population growth is driving an increase in the amount of freight that goes into and out of cities. That growth poses an increasing challenge to freight transportation in smaller compact cities with difficult topology, which is typical for most Norwegian cities and numerous cities abroad.

    This transportation challenge is exacerbated by phenomena such as an increase in internet trade, the demand for fast delivery, and a reduction in the ownership of private cars in the city centre which could be used for shopping. The result is an increase in the total volume of freight, and more critically, in the total number of deliveries, normally managed by a large variety of transportation companies.

    Unless planned for and regulated, a consequence might be increased traffic, with enhanced energy consumption, that competes for available space and may affect living conditions for a growing urban population.

    This project will study small city logistics, with a focus on Bergen, to find the options available for the authorities, business models for a better city logistics setup, as well as mathematical modeling. Will be done in cooperation with the City of Bergen, Vestland County, Bergen Chamber of Commerce and Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET) at The University of Bergen. The project can be qualitative as well as quantitative.

    The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway, and we offer two project grants of NOK 25,000.

    Possible supervisors: Stein W. Wallace, Julio C. Goez or Mario Guajardo.

  • How will autonomous vessels change the operations in the shipping industry (including deep-sea shipping, short-sea shipping and local waterway transport)?

    How will autonomous vessels change the operations in the shipping industry (including deep-sea shipping, short-sea shipping and local waterway transport)?


    If you are a hunter from the Stone Age and one day you are facing an offer to replace you wooden stick with a brand new shotgun, will you still use your new weapon just as a harder stick made of steel to kill your prey, or use it in a better way? Similar challenges are now faced by the shipping companies due to the forthcoming technological evolution, namely the autonomous ship. Obviously, an autonomous ship with no crews on board can significantly reduce a shipping company’s crew cost.

    However, just like the increased hardness of a shotgun in the hunter example, the reduction of crew cost might just be a tiny benefit of the autonomy of our ships. Besides the lower crew cost, what are the fundamental advantages of an autonomous vessel comparing to the conventional manned ship?

    Greater potentials are expected by better utilizing these advantages with innovative ideas in the daily operation of the vessels, such as higher frequency of ferry in the night time, flexible hub location for waterway taxi and multi-functioned vessels with different remote control teams. The world’s first commercial autonomous vessel (Yara Birkeland) will be soon launched in Norway in the end of 2018. And it is a great opportunity for the students here to also take the leading position in the research of the autonomous vessel.

    Contact: Mario Guajardo

  • Using autonomous vehicles to improve our emergency services

    Using autonomous vehicles to improve our emergency services

    The aim of emergency medical services (EMS) is to provide timely assistance to emergencies in order to save lives. Within this service, quality and capacity have sometimes deteriorated because staffing is not satisfactory and because the organization and directives are not clear. My interest is to work on the use of autonomous vessels to help ameliorate the burden that EMS staffing represents in the case of boat ambulances, and to improve the logistics planning of the system.

    The aim is to analyze the use of autonomous vessels to improve response times and coverage. For example, by combining autonomous vessels with geographic information systems, one may use real time information of potential patients to improve the deployment of the resources. In particular my interest is to explore the following key research topic: designing algorithms with predictive capabilities that can be included in real time systems and capable of managing a continuous feed of data points coming from users’ cell phones and other sources.

    Supervisor: Julio C. Goez.

  • Repositioning of Empty Vessels in the Dry Bulk Shipping Market

    Repositioning of Empty Vessels in the Dry Bulk Shipping Market

    Aim: find key drivers for decision-making process of repositioning empty vessels - current market conditions, sentiment - repeating patterns, etc.

    Supervisor: Vít Procházka.

  • Operations Research Applications in Tine

    Operations Research Applications in Tine

    Dairy farmers with combined milk and beef production face complex decisions regarding optimum milk yield, slaughter age for bulls, calving age for heifers, disposal of farm land etc. The aim for this topic is to explore how operations research may help farmers improve their decision making process to increase their profitability. In this project the students will interact with TINE, Norway's largest producer, distributor and exporter of dairy products with 11,400 members (owners) and 9,000 cooperative farms.

    Supervisors: Mario Guajardo and Julio C. Goez .

  • Logistics/sharing economy: Analytics for car-sharing models

    Logistics/sharing economy: Analytics for car-sharing models

    Car-sharing provides short-term vehicle access to a group of user members who share the use of a vehicle fleet owned by a car-sharing organization that maintains, manages, and insures the vehicles. An example of this model in Bergen is bildeleringer. Managing the fleet involves decisions such as the size of the fleet, how to position and reposition the vehicles, maintenance schedules, and pricing approaches. Strong background on analytics required

    Supervisor: Julio C. Goez

  • Optimization of requirements of cloud computing resources

    Optimization of requirements of cloud computing resources

    The providers of online applications usually need to find the deployment of minimum cost for running it in the cloud. For the deployment, the planner on the application side must consider renting resources from cloud providers. However, there is a service level constraint that must be satisfied to ensure the quality of the service.

    Supervisor: Julio C. Goez.

  • How to analyze the impact of introducing a scheduling software?

    How to analyze the impact of introducing a scheduling software?

    Scheduling takes an important role in making shipping as efficient as possible. We want to evaluate the quality of a schedule in practice. As the amount of information changes from what is available during planning to what is available when the plan comes into action, this is a complex problem. The aim of this topic is to find a model to evaluate a plan with respect to how it was used in practice. This will allow us to evaluate if companies improved their scheduling over time. Using data provided by Dataloy Systems, we want to test the model and for example analyse if the implementation of a scheduling software had a positive impact on the schedules.

    Supervisors: Julio Cesar Goez

  • Modelling storage and capacity for scheduling for example for antarctic fishing

    Modelling storage and capacity for scheduling for example for antarctic fishing

    Fishing in the antarctic is a profitable business that is aiming to professionalize its scheduling. Fishing boats are fishing and at the same time producing various fish products on board, increasing their stock of fish products on board. On regular intervals they need to meet a cargo vessel to transfer all their cargo onto the cargo vessel. This is to avoid the fishing boat having to go all the way to the coast and losing valuable fishing time. We want to find a model that fits this operation and can be extended to other storage scenarios (storage on the cargo ship, storage at a warehouse the cargo ship delivers to)

    Supervisor: Julio Cesar Goez

  • Scheduling well in a single port

    Scheduling well in a single port

    For a ship that should visit several terminals in a port to discharge cargo and load cargo scheduling these terminal visits is not trivial. Each terminal has an individual waiting list, each cargo potentially has a deadline when it needs to be discharged or loaded and additionally the ship is not allowed to be overloaded at any point in time. We are interested in a model to evaluate the quality of different solutions.

    Supervisor: Julio Cesar Goez