King of all transport professions

16 September 2015

Narrow passages full of vegetation are something that log truck operator Toni Silván wouldn’t wish on even his worst enemy.

Silván turns the steering wheel and the log truck moves from the highway to a side road headed for Edesniemi in Jämsä in Central Finland. At this point, the driver becomes even more cautious: he is driving an enormous vehicle and from here on the road gets narrower and narrower at every turn. A huge pile of birch pulp awaits at the end of this run and it still has to be transported to the train in time.

Silván is a third-generation truck driver. About ten years ago Ari Lehti asked him to become his company’s log truck operator and so Silván entered the king of all transportation professions.

“The condition of forest roads makes this type of driving the most challenging. We have rough terrain, hills and turns. When we drive back with the load, the truck weighs about 76 tonnes,” says Silván.

Today the road is in good condition and dry, and a familiar turning point awaits at the end of the road. No complaints. Softer road areas require some creativity from the driver. Truck operators are sure to encounter them, especially in spring and autumn. Sometimes the truck even sinks in them.

“Then you just have to take a breath, think and start doing what needs to be done. Up until now I have always managed to get myself out without any help from others,” laughs Silván.

Another part of the operator’s task is revealed at the log pile. Silván gets down from his cool cabin, climbs up the crane in the midday heat, makes the load, climbs down, moves the truck and climbs up again.

“This job guarantees exercise,” says Silván and throws lines over the ready load.

Tips from the operator: good forest road

The most important thing is that there is a suitable turning point at the end of the forest road, so that even a large vehicle can be turned for the return drive.

Roadsides are regularly mowed.

There are trenches along the roadside. This ensures that the road dries in the summer.

The road is paved with crushed gravel or something similar, so it endures the weather and traffic better.

The junctions are wide enough to turn both ways.

Päivi Stenroos

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