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Study Available: Barge Transportation of Delmarva Sawlogs on the Chesapeake Bay to the Northern Neck

The Northern Neck Planning District Commission study “Barge Transportation of Sawlog on the Chesapeake Bay” is available. This study examines the economic advantage of transporting timber from portions of the Delmarva Peninsula, including the Eastern Shore of Virginia, to Kinsale in Westmoreland County, Virginia.  It found that barge delivery could provide cheaper delivery to Kinsale for most timber on the Delmarva Peninsula over truck delivery.

The study found that there is a small amount of available timber in southern Northampton County where a trucking strategy would be less expensive than barge delivery. Accomack and Northampton had 14% of the total timberland and 46% of timber volume of large-diameter saw timber of the area surveyed. However, timber availability is lower in the Commonwealth of Virginia than the other states with timberland unavailable to commercial timber production on large house lots or small farm patches. On the Delmarva Peninsula, timber management is changing and the result is less timber production from the same land than in the past. Four of eight pine sawmills have closed and the remaining ones serve niche markets. The study estimates that 50,000 tons (~8.3 million board feet) could be shipped without having a major adverse impact on the current Delmarva Peninsula timber market but that developing a woodyard for this amount would be unfeasible. The study also noted that there may be more competitive opportunities for Kinsale in other parts of Virginia and Southern Maryland. However, the study noted that if return hauls from the Eastern Shore of Virginia could be found this would cut transportation costs further.

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