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Transportation and logistics organizations often face large-scale combinatorial problems on both operational and strategic levels. By exploiting problem-specific characteristics, classical heuristic methods--such as constructive and iterative local search methods--aim at a relatively limited exploration of the search space, thereby producing acceptable-quality solutions in modest computing times. In a major departure from a classical heuristic, a metaheuristic method exploits not only the problem characteristics but also ideas based on artificial intelligence methodologies, such as different types of memory structures and learning mechanisms, as well as analogies with optimization methods found in nature. Solutions produced by metaheuristics typically are of a much higher quality than those obtained with classical heuristic approaches.This article is part of a special issue on advanced heuristics in transportation and logistics.