Maritime shipping is by far the largest mode of transportation in terms of volume and value, with liner shipping being responsible for a significant amount of the goods transported. Liner carriers operate networks that consist of one or more liner services. A liner service provides a regular service between fixed ports with a fleet of vessels. In the tactical and strategic planning horizon the problem of optimizing the liner shipping network design arises.The liner shipping network design problem is, in its current scope, a relatively new problem in literature. Previously, the main research attention was to cope with the huge complexity that arises by the port rotations and defining a common problem understanding.In this thesis, the network design problem is approached from a practical perspective. The first part of the thesis answers the question of how to evaluate a given large scale liner shipping network on a monetary basis. This is an optimization problem itself, namely, determining the optimal container allocation on a fixed network under consideration of several aspects, such as empty container repositioning, speed optimization and port depth constraints. In this thesis, a column generation method for solving the problem to optimality in several seconds is presented. In the second part of this thesis, exact and heuristic network optimization methods are developed based on the monetary evaluation. The network optimization includes several new relevant aspects, such as transit-times. The methods are evaluated on state of the art benchmark instances and subnetworks from a liner carrier. The results indicate the potential of Operations Research methods in the liner shipping network design: The cargo allocation methods can be used to quickly evaluate alternative networks and the optimization methods to improve existing network layouts, offering a broad decision support to network planners.