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University of Wisconsin-Superior
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Derek Krivinchuk, Andrew Kast, and Alexey Bogdanov were a team of Transportation and Logistics Management majors who traveled to the University of Southern Mississippi to compete in the 2nd Annual Multi-University Supply Chain Case Study competition.
The team engaged in exploratory research comparing two potential supply chains to move Wisconsin frac sand to future China markets. Their research required them to learn about the frac drilling process and frac sand business. They assessed the potential market for frac sand in China and studied China's shale gas reserves.
The team then contacted frac sand companies, railroads, ports, and shipping lines to gather information on product availability, handling characteristics, routes, timelines, port capacities and carrier assets. Using this information the team modeled two supply chains to move the sand to China. One of the proposed routes used the upgraded Panama Canal while the other had a Pacific Northwest gateway port. After analyzing their models, the team wrote up their work, developed conclusions and in January submitted their work to a faculty review committee who determined which case studies would be in the competition.
On February 27, 2014 four preselected teams participated in the multi-university competition. UW-Superior, the only undergraduate team, presented their research and was judged during a public forum at the Logistics, Trade and Transportation Symposium in Long Beach, Mississippi. The UW-Superior case study presentation of Frac Sand Supply Chain won second place. The research and excellent performance by the students would not have been possible without the support of Superior Silica Sands, Hi-Crush Proppants, CN Railroad, the Port of Prince Rupert and the National Center for Freight & Infrastructure, Research & Education (CFIRE).
During the three day conference the students had an opportunity to listen to presentations by experts in industry and academics. Upon arrival at Gulf Port the faculty and students were part of a larger group teaching 150 elementary students about transportation and logistics including hands-on experiments. As part of the conference students and faculty toured a marine container port, a general aviation airport, and a unique facility used to radiate food products. The event also featured speed interviews from industry professionals to better prepare students in their future job search endeavors.
Dr. Amit Mokashi and Dr. Richard Stewart accompanied the team and presented research papers at the conference. Dr. Mokashi presented a co-authored paper about "Expanding the capabilities and use of Automatic Identification Systems (AIS)". Dr. Stewart presented a paper on "Rail Served Intermodal Terminals in Rural Regions: Challenges and Opportunities". These papers will be published in the conference proceedings.
All of the students had great things to say about the event. After arriving home Alexey commented that "I was glad to be involved in this project and honored to present at the professional conference in Mississippi with my team. I had the opportunity to network with professionals from different parts of the country and obtain a lot of first-hand information from industry representatives." Derek stated, "This opportunity (as an undergraduate student) to compete closely with graduate students from research universities' exemplifies the great program we have at UW-Superior."
STORY BY DR. RICHARD STEWART, DIRECTOR OF TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS RESEARCH CENTER AT UW-SUPERIOR.
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