Impacts of using larger and heavier vehicles on operations and profitability of timber transportation: The case of Finnish operating environment
AbstractThis study was set up to find out how Finnish timber transport entrepreneurs perceive their operating environment in terms of using larger and heavier vehicles (LHVs and HCVs), with the main aim of providing guidance for developing sustainable policies that would improve timber transportation. A total of 100 entrepreneurs responded to a questionnaire survey which contained three sections administrated by an online service. Five-point Likert scales were used to collect perceptions and, in addition to statistical descriptors, the Kruskal Wallis and Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare the responses of entrepreneurs. They felt that the 76 t vehicle combination is best suited for transporting timber when transport starts from the forest. When the analysis considered transport from terminals, 76 t combinations remained the most popular, but the popularity of >76 t combinations increased substantially. The farther the LHVs operate from the highways, the less suitable the road network was perceived for timber transport. The results also show that driving and rest time regulations as parts of the working time legislation were perceived as the most disruptive. Further, the availability, responsiveness of technical support, and long delays in solving the queries of drivers were critical problems for the efficient use of in-vehicle ICT-applications. The profitability over the 2014–2018 period has declined more for entrepreneurs using <76 t vehicle combinations. When looking at the development of profitability over the 2020–2024 period, the responses changed in a more positive direction. However, the current skilled workers are retiring and there are too few educated ones to replace them. This is expected to increase wages, which may be reflected in a decreased profitability in the timber transport sector in the future.
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