Investigation of economic and environmental impacts of optimization and correction of sugar beet distribution network in Iran’s sugar supply chain

Document Type : Original Article


1 Agricultural Economics Department, Agriculture and Natural Resource Faculty, Ardakan University, Ardakan, Yazd, Iran

2 Environment and Natural Resources Economics Department, Environmental Sciences Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Considering the high transportation costs of sugar market (produced by sugar beet), the logistic management of its supply chain is of particular importance, which can reduce costs as well as air pollutants, and help with locating facilities, on-time delivery of services and customer satisfaction. Up until now, few studies have been conducted on the optimization of the distribution network of agricultural products in the supply chain, taking into account the economic and environmental impacts. Therefore, the present study aimed to optimize the sugar beet’s distribution network from production areas to refineries in Iran’s sugar supply chain and determine its economic and environmental impacts. In this study, in addition to comparing transport costs in the current and optimal distribution situation, changes in fuel consumption per shift in sugar beet’s distribution, reduced emissions due to the reform of the transportation network and its economic benefits in the country were also evaluated.
Material and methods:
The present study was carried out using data obtained from Iran's statistics center in 2014 for 10 provinces producing sugar beet’s sugar, including Western Azerbaijan, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Fars, Yasuj, Lorestan, Semnan, Qazvin, Khorasan Razavi, and northern Khorasan and 24 demand centers. This study used a linear programming model to consider the simple transport model to analyze the data using GAMS software.
Results and discussion:
The implementation results of optimal transportation plan showed that the implementation of the proposed program decreased the costs of about 4.5 billion USD, equivalent to 3.84%. Also, the implementation results of the optimal transportation plan considering the environmental impacts indicated two million and 177 thousand liters reduction of gasoline and 5.7 billion rials increase in environmental benefits.
It can be concluded that implementing an optimal transportation plan may reduce transportation costs as well as environmental pollution. Therefore, implementation of an optimal plan resulted in the reduction of transportation costs and consequently, on the final price of sugar. Based on results, it is suggested that, during transportation planning in the sugar supply chain, the proposed model in this study should be used for sugar beet transport.