"Shorthaul" pulpwood transport in South Africa. A network analysis case study
Shorthaul transport, also known as secondary intermediate transport (SIT), is a feature of pulpwood transport in South Africa. SIT is an additional transport phase within traditional secondary transport. It originates at roadside landing or depot and terminates at another depot, rail siding or merchandising area (not the final destination). The reason for the inclusion of SIT is identified as the result of the poor and steady decline of 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 where timber is once again loaded and transported to its final destination. A network analysis model, assisted by newly developed and industry accepted terminology, and pixel-based geographic information system (GIS) were combined to analyse various transport scenarios within three study areas in the KwaZulu/Natal Midlands of South Africa, employing SIT on poor, high-density forest road networks. The simple pixel-based GIS contained information on the forest road network, surface cover and slope. The results of the economic analysis highlighted the need for the reduction of road network densities and for the improvement of the remaining network. This would eliminate the need for extended primary transport and allow the use of highway vehicles transporting from compartment roadside to and past plantation exits. Results show the average annual cost penalty to the industry, by maintaining SIT and related transport, to be R43.25 million or R8.24/m3. SIT accounts for between 10 and 15% of the total delivered cost of round wood pulpwood.