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Kalle Karttunen (email), Kari Väätäinen, Antti Asikainen, Tapio Ranta

The operational efficiency of waterway transport of forest chips on Finland’s Lake Saimaa

Karttunen K., Väätäinen K., Asikainen A., Ranta T. (2012). The operational efficiency of waterway transport of forest chips on Finland’s Lake Saimaa. Silva Fennica vol. 46 no. 3 article id 49. https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.49

Abstract

New and cost-efficient methods for use in supply chains for energy wood should be found, to reach the targets of the renewable energy utilisation set by the European Union. The long-distance waterway transportation of forest fuels should be thoroughly investigated, especially in areas where the transport distance is long and waterways could provide a feasible method of conveying forest fuel. In comparison to transport of forest chips by truck, barge-based waterway transport shows a competitive advantage due to the larger loads and higher bulk density of chips it allows. The cost-efficiency of waterway transportation operations related to forest chips in Finland’s Lake Saimaa region was studied using practical demonstrations and discrete-event simulation. The varying demand for fuel wood in three separate bio-power plants on the Saimaa lakeside (near the cities of Varkaus, Mikkeli, and Savonlinna) was addressed in several barge transportation scenarios. Finally, the economy of barge transportation was compared to the economy of truck transportation as a function of transportation distance and in terms of the annual performance of the transportation methods examined. The waterway supply chain of forest chips was cost-competitive to road transport by truck after 100–150 km. According to the simulation study, the most economical waterway transport options were based on fixed barge system and shift-independent harbor logistics where loading and unloading of barges were carried-out with a wheeled loader and a belt conveyor. Total supply chain costs including the best waterway logistics from road side storage to power plant ranged from 10.75 euros to 11.64 euros/MWh in distances of 100–150 km by waterways. The energy-density of forest chips in the barge load was found to be, on average, 25% higher than that in truck hauling, because of the better compaction of chips. Waterway transport is a viable option for long-distance transportation of forest chips in Eastern Finland.

Keywords
barges; discrete-event simulation; forest fuels; logistics; supply chains; tugboats

Author Info
  • Karttunen, Lappeenranta University of Technology, LUT Savo Sustainable Technologies, Mikkeli, Finland E-mail kalle.karttunen@lut.fi (email)
  • Väätäinen, The Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu, Finland E-mail kari.vaatainen@metla.fi
  • Asikainen, The Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu, Finland E-mail antti.asikainen@metla.fi
  • Ranta, Lappeenranta University of Technology, LUT Savo Sustainable Technologies, Mikkeli, Finland E-mail tapio.ranta@lut.fi

Received 27 December 2011 Accepted 11 June 2012 Published 31 December 2012

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Available at https://doi.org/10.14214/sf.49 | Download PDF

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