Irdla, M.*, Padari, A. and Muiste, P. 2016. The Alternatives of Transport of Wood Chips in Estonian Conditions: a Case Study. Baltic Forestry 22(1): 163-168.

   Year by year, the production and transportation of wood chips have increased in Estonia. The maximum gross weight of a road train is 44 tons, hence it is not feasible to use trailers with a capacity of more than 90 m3 because the moisture content of wood chips varies considerably and it is forbidden to exceed the weight restriction. As the majority of wood chips is cut right by the road side in Estonia, the entire process depends greatly on the weather and affects also the vehicle fuel consumption, since high precipitation and extremely variable temperatures (-25 °C...+30 °C) result in changing road conditions. Consequently, the goal of the case study was defined as to analyse the price formation of wood chips transportation in Estonian conditions. Within one year, all expenses related to a total of 9 vehicles on fuel, manpower and spare parts were examined. The vehicles were divided into 3 groups according to their transport routes. All vehicles were equipped with a GPRS tracking system that provides information on fuel consumption, working hours, driving speed and itinerary in real time and this data were later used to obtain a detailed overview. The fuel consumption varied between vehicles with different transport routes throughout the whole year. The group of vehicles with the lowest fuel consumption included three-axle trucks and the largest item of expenditure was fuel. However, transportation of wood chips with two-axle trucks proved to be the least expensive, because, considering total expenditure, the cost of one travelled kilometre was the lowest.

Keywords: wood chips, transport, production cost.