This study focuses on a distribution problem involving incompatible products which cannot be stored in a compartment of a vehicle. To satisfy different types of customer demand at minimum logistics cost, the products are stored in different compartments of fleet vehicles, which requires the problem to be modeled as a multiple-compartment vehicle routing problem (MCVRP). While there is an extensive literature on the vehicle routing problem (VRP) and its numerous variants, there are fewer research papers on the MCVRP. Firstly, a novel taxonomic framework for the VRP literature is proposed in this study. Secondly, new mathematical models are proposed for the basic MCVRP, together with its multiple-trip and split-delivery extensions, for obtaining exact solutions for small-size instances. Finally, heuristic algorithms are developed for larger instances of the three problem variants. To test the performance of our heuristics against optimum solutions for larger instances, a lower bounding scheme is also proposed. The results of the computational experiments are reported, indicating validity and a promising performance of an approach.
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