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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Woman comes home to ‘entirely different’ Victoria after cruise ship, military base quarantine

Melanie Sibbitt booked herself a last-minute vacation on a cruise ship hit by COVID-19

COVID-19: Victoria moves homeless into 35 hotel rooms across the city

Mayor pleads with residents to stay inside during pandemic

Victoria brewery uses 3D-printer to make face shields for health care workers

Phillips Brewing is teaming up with engineers to create single-use medical equipment

Wheelchair user asks people to leave space on sidewalks to socially distance

Wendy Cox says many people are not stepping off the sidewalk to allow her space

Victoria street nurse thanks public for outpouring of donations

Businesses and individuals donated gloves, masks, sanitizers and more to frontline workers

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Most Read