Some homogeneous goods are stocked in storage centers in quantities , , , …, . The goods are required in corresponding consumption centers , , , …, . Knowing the unit transportation costs from each storage center to each consumption center, a plan that uses all the goods (offers) and satisfies all the consumers (requests) is needed.

denotes the quantity of goods transported from storage center to consumption center . The following is a mathematical model of the problem, where we try to minimize the total transportation cost :

,

, ,

, ,

is the total offer,

is the total request.

The transportation problem can be solved if . If , we introduce a fictional consumption center with the offer and transportation cost 0. if , we introduce a fictional storage center with the request and transportation cost 0.

The problem is shown for . The result shows a matrix whose row and column sums are the and . This matrix shows the quantity that each storage center should ship to each consumption center. If , we can obtain a 4×5 () matrix or a 5×4 () matrix, where the extra row or column corresponds to a fictional center.

Contributed by: Mandric Igor (Moldova State University)