Pellet transport
  • Pellet transport

Pellet transport

Wood pellets are sold either packed or in bulk form. The transportation of pellets takes place in different ways. For pellets distribution consumer-bags, big-bags, trucks, railcars and ocean vessels are used. Those different pellet transportation systems have to fulfil requirements of producers, end users and intermediaries. Moreover, it is essentially important ensuring dry transport and storage along the whole pellet supply chain.

Consumer bags
Consumer bags are packed in plastic bags containing 10 to 25 kg. In central Europe the most common bag sizes are 15 kg.  The small bags are usually used in the case of pellet stoves. The bags are labelled providing information about pellet quality, fuel amount and manufacturer. Consumer bags are available in do it yourself stores, gas stations, hardware centres and sometimes supermarkets. If higher amounts are needed consumer bags are packed on pallets and can be delivered by truck. Compared to loosely transported pellets the price of consumer bags is higher.

Jumbo or big bags
Another possibility of pellets transportation are big bags or jumbo bags. They are filled with 1 to 1.5 m³ pellets. Big bags consist of water proofed materials and are normally reused. However, the pellets are to be stored inside. Because of the complicated transportation big bags are rarely delivered  to costumers. In the case of intermediary sellers and small industries big bags are widely used.

Pellets are delivered to end consumers by intermediary sellers or directly by the producers. Therefore, pellets are either packed in consumer bags and transported via standard trucks or distributed loosely. If pellets are distributed loosely, tank, stinger or dump trucks are used. In the European residential heating sector pellets are mostly transported by tank trucks carrying about 15 tonnes. The storages are filled with pneumatically working flexible tubes. Moreover, American trucks so called stinger trucks are typically carrying 40 tonnes using augers for filling storages. Bulk pellets are transported in 20 or 40 foot containers, too.

Railcars are mainly used for transportation by producers to loading facilities of ocean vessels in North America. Such railcars are typically containing a pellet amount from 85 to 100 tonnes. Up to 120 railcars are connected  to a single train set.

Ocean transportation
More than one third of the worldwide pellet trade is distributed via ocean transportation. These ocean vessels and bulk carriers, respectively are either used in coastal or trans-oceanic transportaion. These vessels consist out of two to eleven cargo holds, each containing between 700 to 7,600 tonnes. During the ocean pellets transportation the pellets are protected against seawater by a tight cover and the ventilation is turned off in order to keep the pellets dry.