Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering
Over the past several decades, the transportation of raw materials (logs) has increasingly shifted from the railway to trucks. However, the long-term sustainability of this shift is being questioned due to the shortage of truck drivers, fluctuation of fuel prices, and changes in hours of service laws. The industry is interested in the possibility to shift more logs back to the railway but the impact of such a shift on truckers has not been investigated. This study attempted to quantify the impact of such a change on the operations of log truckers by calculating time efficiency (percentage of daily hours of service for revenue activities) and value efficiency (average loaded versus total ton-kilometers per day) between a truck only and multimodal (truck/rail) alternatives. We used actual data from the forest products industry companies and truck performance data from an earlier study to investigate the impact through case studies in four different locations of the upper Midwest, US. The results of our analysis revealed that in three out of our four case studies, re-routing log movements through rail yard/siding improved the time efficiency and value efficiency. Finally, our sensitivity analysis found that increases in average truck speed and maximum hours or service had higher impact on multimodal transportation than in truck-only system.
Log truck value analysis from increased rail usage.
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