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Title: Economic analysis of the South Pole Traverse
Authors: Lever, J. H.
Thur, Paul.
Keywords: Antarctica
Over-snow resupply
Polar logistics
Return on investment
South Pole Traverse
Issue Date: May-2014
Publisher: Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: ERDC/CRREL ; TR-14-7
Abstract: The U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) operates the South Pole Traverse (SPoT) to resupply Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station from McMurdo Station. During its first three operational seasons (2008–2011), SPoT’s eight tractors delivered an average annual payload of 768,000 lb, most of which was fuel traveling in high-efficiency bladder sleds. These deliveries offset an average of 30 annual LC130 flights to South Pole. We present here an economic analysis of the payback achieved by SPoT during its first three seasons. Costs include SPoT annualized capital and annual operating expenses, and benefits are reduced LC130 costs apportioned per round-trip to South Pole. SPoT’s net economic benefits of $2.0M/year result from significantly lower delivery costs per pound compared with LC130 airlift ($3.60/lb versus $6.10/lb, respectively). Additional benefits of SPoT include reduced air emissions, ability to transport outsized or overweight cargo, and increased availability of LC130s to support other science operations in Antarctica. The results here are structured to guide future USAP investments. For example, sled-efficiency improvements dramatically boost benefits: performance gains from using black rather than tan bladders could increase SPoT’s annual fuel delivery per round trip by 58% and more than double its net economic benefits to $4.6M/year.
Description: Technical Report
Gov't Doc #: ERDC/CRREL TR-14-7
Appears in Collections:Technical Report

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