Pathfinding and optimization for vessels in ice : A literature review

Trung Tien Tran*, Thomas Browne, Mashrura Musharraf, Brian Veitch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
197 Downloads (Pure)


Voyages through ice-covered waters must maintain safety by adhering to maritime regulations. It is also important to optimize maritime shipping in terms of both economic and environmental factors. There has been much research on this topic. However, a systematic review has not been executed. Hence, this work summarizes systematically what has been done and indicates the current gaps. The present research aims to provide a comprehensive investigation of the following questions: (1) What are the objectives of route optimization in ice? (2) What are the ship performance models for vessels in ice operation? (3) What are the operational constraints in ice? (4) What kind of optimization techniques are used in the routing model? (5) Where do the ice data come from? (6) Is the dynamic changing ice environment considered in the model? (7) Is route validation executed? A review of 32 articles in the literature is performed. The results show that main objectives typically include travelled distance, voyage time, and/or fuel consumption, while wide ranges of ship performance models, constraints, optimization methods, and ice data are used. A few studies consider dynamic ice conditions and route validation. This review article is limited to online sources. Results of the current review suggest that future research in the area of pathfinding for vessels in ice should explore more operational constraints and solve the pathfinding in ice problem under uncertainties. It is also recommended that future work consider validation techniques to enhance the reliability and practicality of these routing tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103876
Number of pages8
JournalCold Regions Science and Technology
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023
MoE publication typeA2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review


  • Ice navigation
  • Pathfinding
  • Route optimization


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