CORS / Optimization Days 

HEC Montréal, May 29-31, 2023


HEC Montreal, 29 — 31 May 2023

Schedule Authors My Schedule

FTMI Forestry : Tree to market value chains I

May 31, 2023 10:30 AM – 12:10 PM

Location: TD Assurance Meloche Monnex (green)

Chaired by Mikael Rönnqvist

4 Presentations

  • 10:30 AM - 10:55 AM

    Transportation planning with dynamic demand forecasting

    • Amirhossein Kazemisaboor, presenter, Université Laval
    • Mikael Rönnqvist, Université Laval
    • Mustapha Ouhimmou, ETS

    Transportation and harvest operations are often linked together in integrated forest operations planning. Often the supply is larger than the demand leading to so-called creaming where suboptimal solutions are found. The main reason is the unbalanced supply and demand combined with the tendency of the decision-maker to cut harvest areas close to the mill in short term and leave the farthest areas to the end of the planning horizon. We propose a new approach to forest operations planning by integrating future demand forecasts into the current planning process. This approach enables a more balanced allocation of resources and reduces the average transportation distance over time. Our approach includes three distinct solution scenarios that were tested using simulation processes and compared with existing short-term planning strategies and theoretically optimal solutions. The results demonstrate that the proposed approach outperforms the current method and can lead to improved performance in practice. By offering a new perspective on the balance between economic sustainability and tactical planning, our study contributes to the improvement of forest operations management and provides fresh insights that can inform more effective decision-making. Incorporating future demand forecasts into the planning process can enable forest operations to adapt more efficiently to changing market conditions and ensure the sustainable management of forest resources.

    Keywords: Transportation, forest operations, dynamic forecasting, anticipative planning

  • 10:55 AM - 11:20 AM

    Operational route planning in horizontal collaboration

    • Asudeh Shahidi, presenter, Mechanical Engineering, Laval University
    • Mikael Ronnqvist, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Laval University
    • Nadia Lehoux, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Laval University

    It is acknowledged that, among all challenges faced by the biomass value chain, transportation has long been one of the key obstacles to an efficient and large production of bioenergy. This is because transportation cost accounts for a considerable portion of the cost of the biomass value chain. One potential strategy to considerably reduce this cost is to enable and facilitate collaboration and coordinated operations of the transportation resources. We present a project focusing on inbound transportation, which means shipping biomass from different value chains including forestry, agriculture, and municipality, as renewable natural resources, from their origins to the mills, where they are converted into bioenergy, including heat, biomethane, and biochar. This transportation is done by a mix of different truck configurations for each value chain that typically are not planned integrated. We present the overall problem and review the literature on routing plans for the transportation of natural resources and the strategies proposed for horizontal collaboration and coordination in vehicle routing problems. This includes the potential of joint planning of trucks for different value chains. Finally, we review the prior studies to determine how to consider the cost of the operations from social, economic, and environmental viewpoints.

  • 11:20 AM - 11:45 AM

    Benefits of collaboration between carrier companies using a mix of ordinary and platoon trucks: an application in the forestry industry

    • Saba Gazran, presenter, École de technologie supérieure
    • Tasseda Boukherroub, École de technologie supérieure
    • Mikael Rönnqvist, Université Laval

    Virtually connecting trucks through platooning technology is a recent advancement that could reduce transportation costs, GHG emissions, and the number of drivers required depending on the automation level. This study focuses on hybrid truck platooning systems, which involve one driver on the leading truck of the platoon. It investigates the potential benefits of collaboration between carriers in which at least one of them uses platooning technology. First, we formulate a tactical transportation planning problem using a MILP model to minimize the total transportation cost. Decisions to be made include selecting direct and backhaul routes and activating potential terminal nodes for the transportation networks of all carriers. The results indicate that using truck platooning could lead to cost savings ranging from 0.5% to 19% (depending on the level of collaboration and coverage between the carriers’ transportation networks) compared to using only ordinary trucks. Second, we study the cost-sharing problem to determine the cost saving to allocate to each carrier. We compare the results of four cost-sharing methods (proportional methods, the Shapley method, ACAM, and EPM) with a two-step cost allocation process. The first step allocates the cost savings resulting from collaboration when only using ordinary trucks. Additional cost savings resulting from using platoon trucks are allocated in the second step. According to the results, the Shapley value method has the same outcomes as its two-step approach and produces the best allocation.

  • 11:45 AM - 12:10 PM

    Challenges with Forest Logistics

    • Mikael Rönnqvist, presenter, Université Laval

    Todays forest logistics faces several new and old challenges. This includes CO2 emissions, natural disturbances, sustainability issues, changing weather patterns and logistic efficiency. In this presentation, we describe the characteristics of these challenges and describe some examples on how to address and find solutions. These solutions include the use of Big data, digital twins, automation and new machines for harvesting, forwarding, transportation and planning activities. We provide several examples of these and the current status of development or use. A short demonstration of a decision support using multiple Big data sources for operational planning is included. The seminar also includes how educational games can play an important role for providing a common understanding.