Hauling wood from forest to the mill

12 March 2014

Saku Simpanen from Pielavesi works as a transporting entrepreneur. He is a trustworthy and reliable contractor, who is an important link in UPM’s wood supply chain.

Simpanen guides his truck toward the intermediate storage. He climbs with ease to the cabin of the crane, opens the automatic load binder system with a push of a button and dips the bucket into the load. Massive spruce logs are transferred steadily into a pile by the forest side.

“I load plywood logs for the UPM Pellos plywood mill. The logs are unloaded in an intermediate storage area from where they are floated to the mill when the summer comes. We transfer wood from logging sites straight to mills, trains and floating terminals, as well as to intermediate storage areas.”

Saku Simpanen has grown up following his father in hauling logs. Seppo Simpanen began hauling logs in 1968 for UPM’s predecessor, Tehdaspuu. Saku jumped into the driver’s seat straight from secondary school. Saku and his wife, Jaana-Riitta, have been managing the second-generation family business since 2006. He has continued the co-operation with UPM as a key entrepreneur.

Kuljetus S. Simpanen Oy hauls approximately 300,000 cubic metres of wood a year. Simpanen has trained young talents to become drivers.

“My father taught me that when a job is learned properly from the start, performing well becomes a routine. When you know the job inside out, it is easy and you can perform it with confidence. New, functioning and clean machinery, as well as a great working atmosphere, are crucial factors in overall well-being at work,” explains Simpanen.

Simpanen hasn’t been afraid to develop his operations to better suit the challenges faced today. His investment in a new log truck weighing 76 tonnes was already in place, when measurement and weight regulations were changed. The new truck proudly carries the registration number UPM-1.

“We embrace the challenges with positive and open minds so that we can be at the leading edge of development. The new truck hauls over 50 tonnes of wood.”

“We work in close co-operation with UPM and other key entrepreneurs, especially with the harvesting contractors working in the same region. We aim to provide efficient transportation services while observing the load-bearing capacities of roads,” concludes Simpanen.

Running a business involves a lot of planning, paperwork and meetings. For Saku, the best part of his work is hauling wood from the forest. Jaana-Riitta, on the other hand, enjoys working in the office. Transportation of logs is part of life for Simpanen and his family. His daughters, who are at primary school, are not afraid to climb aboard the log truck and accompany their dad into the forest.

“The morning shift begins between 4:00 and 5:00, and I’m on the road for about 10–12 hours until another worker arrives for the evening shift. In the evening we plan the hauls and run errands. My family is used to hearing their dad’s phone ringing sometimes even late at night,” laughs Simpanen.

“The forest is our family’s livelihood and because of that we can live by a lake in the countryside. I find it important to be a part of a functioning forestry chain that provides work and a livelihood to the countryside. It is great that forests grow here and that wood is processed further nearby.”

Simpanen’s family business has received a Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Savo region, as well as UPM’s award for key entrepreneurs.

“It is a great feeling to know that we are perceived as a trustworthy and reliable operator,” muses Saku Simpanen.

Päivi Mäki

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