Log Movement in the Superior Region – Rate and Capacity Based Analysis of Modal Shares – Alger County


PI:  Pasi Lautala

Project Period:  01.01.18-12.31.19

Task 1: Log and non-log product movement data collection

This study will use actual log movement data (both by truck and by train) by the participating forest products companies, as well as train routes and schedules from CN (and potentially E&LS) as a backbone for the spatial simulation model of the region. The main activities of the task 1 include log and non-log movement data collection. For the non-log movements, the main emphasis is in collecting data on origin-destination (O-D) pairs, both from the forest products companies and from the results of NRTC study.

Task 2: Development of GIS network and yard/siding/mill constraints

We are expecting the GIS (Geographical Information System) maps of truck/rail movements to be the first main outputs from our study. These electronic maps developed based on the log movement data will show not only the actual locations and capacities of yards and sidings, but the transportation infrastructure of study area.

Task 3: Log /non-log movement data reduction/cleaning (as necessary) and conversion to a common format

In this task, we will clean up and convert the log movements to a common format. We will identify the log volumes through each O-D pair, including volumes through rail sidings/yards. Data collected in the previous tasks will be collated and organized with the development of commodity flows. Commodity flows will provide the movements of goods (log) in the study area and will be the basic dataset for average daily/monthly O-D matrix of log movements.

Task 4: Development of operational constraints (rail) and operational model

The studies on the freight mode choice, especially the competition between truck and rail are becoming critical to improve the efficiency of freight transportation system. In this task, we will investigate observed/unobserved factors influencing freight mode choice, including truck and rail. The average daily/monthly O-D matrix of log movements in the previous task will utilize to develop log freight mode choice model.

Task 5: Development of “non-log” product movement graphics, data tables and maps

In the same way as in Task 2 and 3 for a log product, this task identifies the “non-log” volume through each O-D pair and develops movement tables based on data collected in previous Task 1. The task includes generating volume matrices and GIS maps on the movements to identify opportunities.

Task 6: 1st simulation runs and development of results

In this task, we will develop the first simulation model that seeks to optimize log transportation considering the operational constraints of rail. This model will analyze log movements (from several companies/mills) by rail and truck, and look at where and how opportunities may be created to improve the business case for CN or a short line operator to provide cost effective service. One potential example is identifying locations where larger shipment sizes can be concentrated at once. Figure 1 presents the framework of the spatial model, using all processes from Tasks 1 to 5 as its main components.

Task 7: Industry/sponsor review of results

Progress report will be provided to get industry/sponsor reviews of the optimization and non-log movement results. This report will include the results of five tasks in the phase 1 (from Task 1 to Task 5) as well as the results derived from the first operational simulation model of task 6.

Task 8: 2nd simulation runs and analysis of additional logistics considerations.

We will run the second simulation and analyze on the car demand, effects on log trucks, opportunities for reduced peaking and consolidated rail yards. The comments/opinions from the first review will be reflected in the second simulation runs.

Task 9: Industry sponsor/review of results and final report

Pasi Lautala
Pasi Lautala
Kuilin Zhang
Kuilin Zhang