Australian forestry is the latest industry to reap the benefits of a logistics tool developed by CSIRO that is likely to save the sector millions annually.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources engaged CSIRO to expand its TraNSIT (Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool) to be applied to the transportation of logs from plantation forests.

Hardwood plantation logs harvested for the financial year 2015-16 indicate a record high 9.7 million m3 of log volume worth about $706 million (ABARES 2017). Softwood plantation logs harvested for the financial year 2016-17 also indicate a record high of 17.3 million m3 of log volume worth about $1,341 million (ABARES 2017).

CSIRO’s TraNSIT project leader Dr Andrew Higgins

Quality transport infrastructure is essential for efficiently moving logs from plantations to mills for processing or ports for export.

Late last year CSIRO researchers used the same logistics tool to provide the most detailed map of routes and costings across Australia’s entire agricultural supply chain.

Researchers applied TraNSIT to 98 per cent of agriculture transport across Australia including commodities such as beef, sheep, goats, dairy, pigs, poultry, grains, cotton, rice, sugar, stockfeed, horticultural and even buffalo.

This information was presented in the final TraNSIT agricultural report, published in November last year.

The TraNSIT tool identifies ways to reduce travel distance and time, save fuel costs, cut down on wear and tear to vehicles and produce and minimise stress for both truck drivers and their cargo.

“The final agricultural report and the latest forestry report represent TraNSIT’s diversity of applications across Australia,” CSIRO’s TraNSIT project leader Dr Andrew Higgins said.

In 2013, CSIRO initially developed TraNSIT to provide a comprehensive view of transport logistics costs and benefits based on infrastructure investments in cattle supply chains across northern Australia.

An initiative of the federal Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the tool was extended to all agriculture road and rail transport across Australia from farm to market or export port.

Besides the TraNSIT agricultural report focusing on each agricultural commodity, it also featured a flood case study and rail to road scenarios.

TraNSIT is now being applied overseas, particularly in Indonesia, Laos and Vietnam to address supply chain inefficiencies and cross-border bottlenecks.

For more information on TraNSIT and to view the final agricultural and forestry reports, click here.

This update was kindly provided by Dr Andrew Higgins, who presented ‘Informing Northern Australia’s Freight and Supply Chain Strategy Using TraNSIT’ at the 2017 Developing Northern Australia Conference.