The container off hire allocation problem occurs in the context of the marine and inland container repositioning for liner shipping industry. It involves transportation demand forecasting, container inventory planning, vessel and voyage scheduling as well as redelivery priorities of various container types. In this paper, the process and influence factors of the problem are described. Then a basic optimization model is proposed to minimize the total operational cost under the limitation of return quantities/rates to each node in the off hire process. Finally, computing results are illustrated by numerical analysis. © 2012 IEEE.