Economic Impact of Secondary Intermediate Transport of Pulpwood to Truck Transport Depots in South Africa: Three Case Studies


  • P.A. Ackerman University of Stellenbosch
  • R.E. Pulkki Lakehead University


Shorthaul transport, known as secondary intermediate transport (SIT), is an additional transport phase within traditional secondary transport in South Africa. It originates at roadside landing or depot and terminates at another depot or rail siding (not the final destination). The use of SIT is forced by poor and steadily declining forest road conditions, to the extent that highway type vehicles are unable to reach roadside landings. This necessitates the use of intermediate storage sites, from which the timber is once again loaded and transported to its final destination. A network analysis model and grid cell-based geographic information system were combined to analyse the various transport scenarios within three study areas in the KwaZulu/Natal Midlands of South Africa, employing SIT on poor, high-density forest road networks. Results show the South African forest industry's average annual transportation cost penalty, by maintaining SIT, to be $US 4.32 million or $US 0.82/m3 over the cost of transportation over an improved road network using only secondary terminal transport. This cost differential does not account for the cost of upgrades required to eliminate the need for SIT. However a net present value cost analysis of the inclusion of road upgrade costs versus the average annual transportation cost savings and increased forest yield from decommissioned roads, maintains a positive financial benefit. Economic analysis highlighted the need for reduced road network densities and for improvement of the remaining network. This would eliminate extended primary transport, multiple loading, unloading and storage by allowing highway vehicles to transport timber from compartment roadside to its final destination.






Technical Papers