Nine-axle log trucks are hauling to Canfor's Vanderhoof sawmill

Longer trucks save forest companies money, fuel

BC FOREST FUTURE: Nine-axle log trucks reduce costs, carbon emissions on longer hauls needed in areas affected by mountain pine beetle

One of a series of articles on the future of the B.C. forest industry. You can find the series on Facebook or Twitter by searching for the hashtag #BCForestFuture or at the links below.

Times are tough for the forest industry in northern and central B.C., and every efficiency loggers and mill operators can find makes a difference.

With timber stands heavily damaged by the mountain pine beetle across the region, companies have to haul longer distances than ever, and new technology offers ways to increase productivity and reduce costs.

One of those new technologies seems deceptively simple. It’s adding more axles to a log-hauling truck and trailer, to increase payload beyond the six, seven and eight-axle trucks currently in use.

That’s a project of FPInnovations, the industry-government research and development group with operations in B.C. and across Canada. And getting approval from the B.C. transportation ministry to use nine-axle trucks has been “a big gain,” said Doug Bennett, research manager for transportation and infrastructure at FPInnovations.

The first trucks are hauling on Highway 16 and Highway 27 to Canfor’s mill in Vanderhoof. Truck components are being manufactured at Freflyt in Vanderhoof.

Bennett said the additional payload for each trip translates to a saving of 14 to 15 per cent, or $3 to $4 per cubic metre of wood. If longer trucks were used across the province, the estimated saving to industry is about $30 million a year.

Canfor’s Stephen Mackie said the larger loads also help the company deal with a shortage of truck drivers. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions are an other attraction, in an industry leading the way toward lower-carbon construction and biofuels.

“For the nine-axle log truck it’s about eight per cent reduction in GHGs,” Bennett said. “The chip van we’re working on is a 10-axle unit, and that’s got an 18 per cent reduction in GHGs.”

The high-capacity chip van is designed to increase the load from 63,000 to 79,000 kg. Mercer International is partnering with FPInnovations on the project for its Celgar pulp mill in Castlegar.

Just Posted

North Cowichan appeals new permit for expansion at Chemainus composting facility

Province allows composting facility to expand processing

Editorial: Low water levels on Vancouver Island worrying

This is the time of year when our lakes are usually filled to capacity and beyond

Meet the Ladysmith ambassador candidates

Seven enrolled in this year’s leadership program

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

Dump truck driver hurt after highway crash in Ladysmith

One man airlifted to hospital after collision between dump truck and pickup truck Friday

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

Most Read