Topics for master theses

Topics for master theses

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:

  • Shipping: How does the creation of shipping pools affect the power balance in the chartering market?

    Shipping: How does the creation of shipping pools affect the power balance in the chartering market?

    Using: Public and private fixture data, fixed effects econometric models.

    Company: Golden Ocean and their Capesize chartering pool.

    Supervisor: Professor Roar Ådland

  • Shipping: How do risk capital and risk limits affect the chartering policy of a ship operator?

    Shipping: How do risk capital and risk limits affect the chartering policy of a ship operator?

    Using: freight rates timeseries, optimal portfolio theory.

    Company: Western Bulk.

    Supervisor: Professor Roar Ådland

  • Shipping: Is the Baltic freight index system ready for an upgrade?

    Shipping: Is the Baltic freight index system ready for an upgrade?

    Using: Interviews/surveys with principals, startups, traders, trying to answer the following questions: What are the benefits and drawbacks of the current system of broker assessments for freight pricing. Can alternative purely data-driven indices compete?

    Supervisor: Professor Roar Ådland

  • Shipping/Finance: Can you hedge shipping share prices with FFAs?

    Shipping/Finance: Can you hedge shipping share prices with FFAs?

    Investigate the hedging efficiency of using forward freight agreements when hedging the share prices of shipping companies such as Golden Ocean, Frontline.

    Supervisor: Professor Roar Ådland

  • Shipping/Finance: Advanced freight option trading strategies

    Shipping/Finance: Advanced freight option trading strategies

    The forward freight curve has a peculiar term structure of volatility. Can this be taken advantage of to create statistical arbitrage strategies for long-short option trading? Data available from the Baltic Exchange.

    Supervisor: Professor Roar Ådland

  • Shipping: Economic optimization of underwater hull-cleaning intervals

    Shipping: Economic optimization of underwater hull-cleaning intervals

    Using fuel consumption and cost data from individual ships: How often should the company clean the hull of a ship to reduce fuel costs. Advanced – requires some knowledge of optimization, optimal stopping problems, semi-parametric regressions.

    Company: SKS Tankers.

    Supervisor: Professor Roar Ådland

  • Shipping: How can vessel performance data be used to optimize commercial operation?

    Shipping: How can vessel performance data be used to optimize commercial operation?

    Using vessel performance and open-source weather data – show how better fuel cost estimates affect the economics of ship operation. Strong knowledge of econometrics required.

    Company: SKS Tankers or Golden Ocean.

    Supervisor: Professor Roar Ådland

  • Shipping: Machine learning models for FFA trading

    Shipping: Machine learning models for FFA trading

    Using spatial AIS data for ship positions, open-source weather and macro data – can you develop a machine learning model to generate profitable trading signals? Requires knowledge of Python, implementation of machine learning models.

    Supervisor: Professor Roar Ådland / TBN

  • Shipping: Benchmarking charterer/owner performance in the chartering market

    Shipping: Benchmarking charterer/owner performance in the chartering market

    Using public fixture data, to analyze the extent to which company name affects market power in negotiations and freight rates. Requires knowledge of fixed-effects regression models.

    Supervisor: Professor Roar Ådland

  • Blå Bybane (Blue Light Rail)

    Blå Bybane (Blue Light Rail)

    Bergen has built its first light rail line from the city centre to the airport. Other lines are being discussed politically. This thesis covers a related idea, which has been called “Blue Light Rail”, though it is not a rail line at all, but an idea of having scheduled vessels (high speed boats) playing the same role as light rail, and utilizing the fact that Bergen is a coastal city with complicated topology.

    There are several places with a reasonably large transportation need that are more easily reached from Bergen city centre by boat than by car or bus (or rail). The most obvious ones are Askøy, Knarvik (which already have connections) and Ågotnes (Sotra), which has not. It is also possible to imagine routes within the area around the city centre itself.

    A suggestion has been to connect Laksevåg, Dokken, Hegreneset and Sandviken (if you don’t know Bergen, ask Mr Google). This could facilitate a fascinating development of central Bergen by providing clean and efficient transportation to new developments. Typically these vessels will have electrical engines.

    Bergen Chamber of Commerce (Næringsrådet) has established a committee looking into the Blue Light Rail, and this thesis will interact with that committee. The thesis is also placed within a project on autonomous vessels (though autonomy comes later) funded by the Norwegian Research Council, attached to NHH’s Centre for Shipping and Logistics.

    The thesis can take many forms related to such as scheduling relative to other means of public transportation (possibly with a special emphasis on how delays can be handled), the interaction with tourism (it is quite attractive for some groups of tourists to get a trip on the fjord at ordinary, non-touristic prices), and an analysis of the environmental advantages of such a service. But feel free to suggest other perspectives on the problem, as there are others.

    The thesis can fit into many different profiles, particularly BAN, ENE and BUS, depending on the profile of the students.

    NHH contact: Stein W. Wallace

    External contacts: This depends on the profile of the thesis. Possibilities are:

    • Bergen Chamber of Commerce (by its leader Atle Kvamme) and the Chamber’s Blue Light Rail Committee. This covers almost any profile you could possibly choose.
    • CEO Johnny Breivik, Port of Bergen
    • Member of the municipal government (with responsibility for city development) Anna Elisa Tryti and her advisor Tarje Wanvik.
    • Roger Harkestad at TIDE (bus company)
    • Lars Jacob Engelsen at Norled (boat and ferry company)

     

  • What is the potential in better understanding Marine Traffic Big Data?

    What is the potential in better understanding Marine Traffic Big Data?

    Marine Traffic is today extensively monitored by Oil companies, Coastal administrations, Offshore wind farm operators and more. Huge amounts of data are collected in order to ensure safe and efficient execution of marine traffic. The focus of the use of such data has traditionally been on using it in a relatively simple and unprocessed way as decision support at an operational level.

    However, the recent focus on the potential of Big Data analysis, and the recent development of good tools for better analyzing big data, brings up the question: Is there some “gold” hidden in the huge amounts of marine traffic data that is collected every year. The aim of this thesis will be to explore how different types of collected marine traffic data can be utilized in new ways contributing to further improve marine traffic safety and logistics efficiency at sea.  The thesis is in close cooperation with Vissim - http://www.vissimvts.com/ - please check out their web-site.

    Company contact: Dr. Bjørnar Aas in Horten

    NHH contact: Stein W. Wallace

  • Planning in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market

    Planning in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market

    The global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market has been experiencing strong growth. Quadrupling in size, doubling its share of global natural gas trade, the LNG trade has been one of the fastest growing segment in the energy industry over the past two decades. Traditionally the LNG market has been characterized by relatively rigid and long-term contracts and operations. The industry typically operates with a planning horizon of 12 months. Before the beginning of each contract year, LNG supplies and buyers work together to agree on an annual delivery program (ADP) to achieve efficient delivery and receipt of LNG cargoes.

    We are now seeing a clear trend in the LNG industry, which is the paradigm shift from long-term contracts to short-term and increased number of contracts, giving rise to larger and more complex LNG distribution networks. This trend is challenging the industry and triggers the need for more efficient and advanced planning tools, as until today the planning related to shipping and sales has still been largely done manually based on experience and "common sense".

    With its trademark solution Energy Components as the industry standard in hydrocarbon management, Tieto is the software supplier for many of the largest oil & gas companies in the world. Tieto's Oil & Gas unit (Tieto Norway) now has the leading position in the LNG segment and several on-going projects with major LNG suppliers aiming to address the new challenges with new software planning tools. This master's project will take advantage of Tieto's expert knowledge in the LNG domain, and look at some of the following issues:

    • Mathematical modeling and development of effective tools to produce ADP for LNG suppliers.
    • Business analytics tools to quantify risks and provide decision support when uncertainty is at play.

    The project will include some or all of the following parts:

    • Study of the planning problem and relevant literature
    • Mathematical formulation of the problem
    • Study of the relevant optimization or simulation solution methods
    • Study the methods for evaluating risks and decision support under uncertainty
    • Analysis and discussion of numerical results based on realistic problem instances from Tieto

    NHH contact: Stein W. Wallace.

    Company contact: Dr Xin Wang in Oslo.

  • 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)?

    Background

    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.

    Potential Reference

    Toth, P., Vigo, D. (2002). The Vehicle Routing Problem. Philadelphia: SIAM Publications Stopford, M. (2009). Maritime Economics. London: Routledge.

    Contact: Yewen Gu

  • 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.

      Contact: Julio Cesar Goez
  • Flexible transport scheduling with autonomous vessels & autonomous buses

    Flexible transport scheduling with autonomous vessels & autonomous buses

    • Analyze how autonomous transport can increase the inhabitants use of public transport and move transport from road to see or from road to train. How should the routing be conducted so that people are willing to replace road transport with train/sea transport on the main distance? Discuss parameters, constraints and objectives for the routing model. For example: Autonomous busses picks up passengers in the Voss region transport them to Voss railway station where they can take the train to Bergen railway station.

      Contacts: Mario GuajardoSigrid Lise Nonås
  • Economics of deep-sea autonomous shipping

    Economics of deep-sea autonomous shipping

    • This thesis aims at identifying and analyzing opportunities created by autonomous vessels in the delivery of services. The focus will be on new opportunities in economics of deep-sea cargo shipping.

      Contact: Siri Pettersen Strandenes

  • Using the physical internet analogy to design modern logistic networks

    Using the physical internet analogy to design modern logistic networks

    • I am interested in working on exploring new designs for logistics systems. A big problem with our current transport and logistic methods is that they are unsustainable from an economic, environmental, and societal perspective. Inefficiencies can be found thought all the processes, from empty trucks dead-heading to pick up their next loads, to underutilized distribution centers. Recently an new paradigm has been propose called the physical internet, which is define in the literature as “an open global logistics system founded on physical, digital and operational interconnectivity through encapsulation, interfaces and protocols”. This aims to fix several of the inefficiencies of the logistics systems introducing ways to move goods using standardized, modular containers. This vision is attracting significant investments especially in the European Union.

      Contact: Julio Cesar Goez
  • Optimization and simulation models to improve efficiency in a Norwegian refinery

    Optimization and simulation models to improve efficiency in a Norwegian refinery

    • Develop optimization and/or simulation models to improve the efficiency and increase the production rate in a Norwegian refinery (Elkem Bremanger).

      Contact: Sigrid Lise Nonås
  • Waste management

    Waste management

    • New waste pipelines are built below the surface in the city center. How can BIR improve the efficiency and increase the utilization of the pipelines?
      • Topic 1: Use optimization, simulation and tools from supply chain management to improve the waste management in BIR.
      • Topic 2: BIR can only collect data from garbage handling for the owner of a house or an apartment. Many of the houses in the city center are divided in several apartment that are rented to students or other inhabitants. How BIR can increase individuals (renters) incentives to sort garbage when BIR only can collect aggregate data from all the apartment in the house? If BIR could track the for each household, which impact would that have on the individual willingness to sort their garbage?

        Contact: Sigrid Lise Nonås
  • Supply chain analysis of a multi-channel clothing company

    Supply chain analysis of a multi-channel clothing company

    • Analyze the supply chain configuration for a multi-channel clothing supply chain. Discuss if the current configuration is a good fit for the markets the company serve. Take into account all the dimensions of supply chain performance (facilities, inventory, transportation, data handling and data analysis, sourcing, pricing). Based on the result from the analysis, identify in which areas the company have the largest challenges and suggest how they can improve supply chain performance. To narrow the scope of the thesis you could for instance analyze if inventory management and revenue management are in line with the supply chain strategy and the current supply chain configuration (facilities, inventory, transportation, data handling and data analysis, sourcing, pricing) for a company selling children clothes in Norway.

      Contact: Sigrid Lise Nonås
  • The operational and economic impact of autonomous ship application, comparing to the traditional manned vessels. Wartsila, Fjellstrand, NYK

    The operational and economic impact of autonomous ship application, comparing to the traditional manned vessels. Wartsila, Fjellstrand, NYK

    • The operational and economic impact of autonomous ship application, comparing to the traditional manned vessels. Wartsila, Fjellstrand, NYK.

      Contact: Yewen Gu
  • 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.

    Contact: Vít Procházka

  • Time series analysis of changing supply and demand in the shipping market

    Time series analysis of changing supply and demand in the shipping market

    Contact: TBA

  • Emission abatement technology for a shipping company - is the uncertainty of fuel prices important?

    Emission abatement technology for a shipping company - is the uncertainty of fuel prices important?

    Is the uncertainty of fuel prices important to be considered when a shipping company selects its emission abatement technology for the compliance of ECA regulation.

    Contact: Yewen Gu

  • 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.

    Contact: Mario Guajardo and Julio C. Goez

Previous master thesis

2017

2016

2015

2014