Date of Award

Summer 7-17-2017

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Forest Resources

Advisor

Anil Raj Kizha

Second Committee Member

Brian Edward Roth

Third Committee Member

Sandra M. De Urioste-Stone

Abstract

Forest transportation from in-woods to the final point of utilization is one of the major components in forest harvesting operations in terms of economics, public visibility and safety. In many cases, the price of delivered wood products depends on the transportation distance. Transportation is also crucial in terms of ensuring the supply of demanded products on time.

Globally, road transportation being the most predominant medium for forest products transportation, majority of research are focused on this subject. These scientific researches are of diverse nature; with main emphasis on improving the supply chain issues and minimizing cost of transportation, including road construction and maintenance. However, the scientific research focusing on overall challenges faced by forest transportation sector and their potential resolutions is scant.

The aim of this study was to document and evaluate the problems associated with the forest tucking sector of Maine. The next objective was to validate potential solutions, obtained through literature, with the stakeholders in the state. The third objective was to develop a management guideline. The first step was an extensive scientific literature search related to secondary forest products transportation. A total of 131 scientific articles published from year 2000 to 2015 were collected and categorized into six different research themes. This helped in better understanding of the current trends and advances in the field. Supply chain issues and roads were the most studied research themes in this field; while trucking efficiency and safety bottomed the list.

Followed by which, a cross sectional survey was carried out in a conference setting to document and rank the major challenges to the forest trucking sector in the state. The specific reasons behind the prevalence of those challenges were also discussed. The survey yielded 31.22% response rate and the major challenge for the state was regarded as availability of market and lack of skilled manpower. These challenges were also compared with the situation of other regions in the nation and world through literature and trade magazine analysis.

For developing a management guideline with validated resolutions for the trucking related problems, a qualitative case study method with semi-structured interviews was implemented. The primary intention was to understand the perspectives of stakeholders on field level solutions. The stakeholders included forest managers, personnel from professional forestry societies, and trucking & logging contractors. Thirteen interviews were conducted, with each being audio recorded and later transcribed verbatim. The presented results included various solutions for specific problems related to trucking in Maine from stakeholders’ perspective. The key findings of this process also serve as a management guideline for forest trucking industry of Maine.

This study is expected to support the understanding of challenges in general and fill the gap of knowledge regarding trucking in Maine. Land owning and managing, trucking, and logging companies would be able to use the results from this study to prepare trucking plans to support logistics based on given circumstances. These findings can be used as a baseline figure for future studies involving supply chain analysis for the logging industry.

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