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Cost analysis of transporting forest chips and forest industry by-products with large truck-trailers in Finland

Laitila, Juha, Asikainen, Antti, Ranta, Tapio
Biomass and bioenergy 2016 v.90 pp. 252-261
bark, biomass, cost analysis, cost effectiveness, forest industries, forests, freight, geographic information systems, industrial byproducts, laws and regulations, models, sawdust, sawmills, stumps, whole tree harvesting, wood, wood chips, Finland
Laws mandating the physical dimensions of freight transport vehicles were changed in Finland and the new legislation enables higher gross weights as well as larger load capacities. The aim of this study was to examine truck transportation costs associated with forest chips and forest industry by-products as a function of transportation distance and procurement volume in order to determine the most cost-effective vehicle type for each assortment and find out how much the new vehicle types can improve the efficiency of wood biomass transportation. The transported assortments were whole-tree and logging residue chips produced at roadside landings, sawdust, and bark or sawmill wood chips from forest industries and ground stumps from terminals. The transportation costs were calculated as a function of permissible payload and transportation distance from the loading point to the end-use facility on the basis of existing driving speed models, productivity parameters, GIS data and hourly cost data. The results of this paper indicate that the new measures, technology and weight limits for heavy vehicles represent a significant cost reduction and efficiency improvement potential when transporting forest chips and forest industry by-products. The 69-tonne truck-trailer was a feasible choice when the payload was not limited by the bulk weight of the forest industry by-products. With heavier forest industry by-products, such as sawmill wood chips and bark, the 76-tonne truck-trailer was the most feasible choice. The results showed clearly that the transporting costs associated with using the new type truck-trailers were lower than those for conventional 60-tonne truck-trailers in all assortments.