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

Lightning strikes across B.C. Interior

Residents are being asked to go inside until last rumble of thunder

Salmon Arm Fire Department adding all-terrain vehicles to fleet

City council approves purchase of two new side-by-sides for off-road access

Salmon Arm firefighters respond to report of smouldering railway track

Small hot spot reported near Pierre’s Point, passerby said to have extinguished it

New ways to play coming to Sicamous Beach Park

Sicamous council green-lights funds for floating play structures plus water and lighting projects

Alberta man drowns in Mara Lake near Sicamous

The 26-year-old man’s body was retrieved on July 16

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Lightning strikes West Kelowna condo

Fire crews were called to a building on Carrington Road Tuesday night

Lightning sparks wildfires in Vernon

Tuesday night storm causes wildfire in BX and residential fire in East Hill

UPDATE: Smoke rising from Okanagan Mountain Park hills

Lightning may have sparked a fire in the hills across from Peachland

Update: Lightning sparks blaze above Summerland

Firefighters are battling the small fire from the area that occurred Tuesday shortly after 7 p.m.

UPDATE: Crews battle wildfire near Big White

Joe Rich Fire Department responding alongside Big White Fire Department and provincial crews.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Pike Mountain fire continues to grow – quadruples in 24 hours

Fire threatens area consumed in 2017 by a 3,500 hectare blaze

Vernon Knights hire Van Horlick

New head coach of Junior B franchise in Armstrong

Most Read