||Shipping industry belongs to an international business. It plays an extremely important role in the economic and trade development of a country, so it can be regarded as a symbol of extension of the national strength of a country. Besides, it earns a lot of foreign capital for the country, but never creates any negative effects to the society domestically, such as environmental protection, noise, congestion, and so on. This is something that other manufacturing industries are incomparable with. Especially that Taiwan is an island, Taiwan should be engaged in the studies of shipping business through the rich marine resources. Then, unlimited business opportunities and vitality must be brought to Taiwan, achieving the aspiration of and confidence in standing in Taiwan but looking far to the world.|
International marine transportation business can be divided into irregular bulk shipping and regular container shipping. Between them, irregular bulk shipping is mostly the loading of the bulk cargoes by one or two consignors in one whole vessel. It is almost a completely competitive market. In order to obtain the greatest profit through the unlimited shipping lines and cargo loading, the best business operation ways and the best vessel allocation should be selected. For regular container shipping, services are provided to a great number of consignors with fixed shipping lines, fixed anchoring harbors and fixed rate.
The cost of refueling of shipping industry occupies an extremely high proportion of the variable cost of marine transportation. When the price of the international fuel rises continuously, the cost of fuel increases accordingly. Taking the international vessel-use fuel MF-180 for example, the market quotation of oil in Taiwan on Jan. 6, 1999 was US$74/MT. After that, the price rose continuously. Down to Oct. 2007, there appeared the market quotation of oil at above US$500/MT. According to the “Medium Term Oil Market Report of International Energy Agency (IEA)” announced on Jul. 9, 2007, the whole world would face the shortage of oil supply in five years, and the oil price was estimated to be rising continuously. Bulk marine transportation is irregular shipping without the fixing of any regular shipping lines and cargo loading. If refueling is to be made to vessels, there should be more efficient estimation and decision on the refueling harbor, refueling volume and refueling cost so as to achieve the minimum variable cost and acquire the greatest profit.
Through review of the literature about the refueling of voyages as well as the interviews with experts, the paper investigates the literature of the decision support system, and uses the prototype development method to complete the model construction and the analytical design of system, practically establish a prototype of refuel decision support system for bulk shipping, and provide the solutions of average sailing speed of voyages, refueling volume and refueling harbor. After the results are compared with those of the actual cases, the paper evaluates the effects of the decision support system. Through the users’ feedback, the prototype is revised to increase the completeness of the system, which provides a reference for the bulk shipping proprietors in constructing a refueling decision support system in future.