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

CRA promoting call-in income tax system

Canada Revenue Agency changes tax return process for those on fixed incomes

British Columbians will have input on poverty reduction

B.C. Poverty Reduction Strategy community meetings set to begin

Quesnel Kangaroos head into playoffs with home game

Roos will play Terrace at West Fraser Centre Saturday night

Today’s road conditions and weather report

Quesnel River Bridge under maintenance until 4a.m. tomorrow; falling rocks Spences Bridge to Jackass

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

Vancouver Islanders ponder need for tsunami siren song

Alarm sounds in Port Alberni but not at the DND base in Esquimalt

Babcock, Goyette and Smyth honoured at Order of Hockey in Canada

Mike Babcock, from Saskatoon, guided the Detroit Red Wings to a Stanley Cup in 2008

Bell Canada alert prompts RCMP, privacy watchdog to probe data breach

Company spokesman: ‘Fewer than 100,000 customers were affected’

‘The tsunami alarm failed my household’: North Coast residents concerned over sirens, alerts

People living in northern communities share how they learned about Tuesday’s tsunami warning

Snowboarder dies at Vancouver Island ski resort

Death at Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Man faces 48 charges in string of random Toronto shootings

The string of unprovoked shootings began Jan.9, say police

Most Read