Since a new decree concerning road transport came into effect in Finland in October 2013, the average size of UPM’s wood and wood chip loads has grown. The new decree amended the maximum vehicle-combination weight permitted in Finland from 60 to 76 tonnes. However, not all trucks used by UPM transport these maximum loads. Larger loads improve transport efficiency and decrease the fuel consumption per unit of payload, reducing the carbon dioxide emissions of wood transport. Transport volumes and distances have remained at a stable level.
UPM’s transport contractors have been more eager to take advantage of the larger vehicle combinations allowed by the new decree than was anticipated. The change has primarily been visible in the raw wood transport of sawmills and veneer mills that can make full use of the increased net loads. According to research, the increased total weights have not damaged roads any more than regular transport.
High capacity transport (HCT) vehicles collecting research data
UPM is one of the first Finnish companies piloting the use of HCT vehicles. By the end of 2015, HCT combination vehicles weighing over 76 tonnes had been granted eleven special permits. The first permit for a HCT timber truck was granted to UPM’s transport contractor Orpe Kuljetus in autumn 2014. It drives wood raw material to and from UPM mills and terminals in Eastern Finland. The maximum weight of this combination vehicle can be 94 tonnes when loaded. The vehicle is part of the research project coordinated by the Finnish Forest Industries Federation and Metsäteho Oy. In addition to Orpe’s HCT truck UPM uses the services of Speed Oy Ltd, Speed having a special permit for HCT container lorries. Speed transports UPM’s sawn timber and paper from Kaukas in Lappeenranta to the harbour.
Research data on the HCT vehicles is currently being collected for the Finnish authorities. The decision on whether the use of heavy-weight HCT vehicles can be increased in the future will be made based on this data. The purpose of the research efforts and the piloting of the test vehicles is to determine how new vehicle technology could improve the efficiency of wood logistics in the Northern periphery of Europe in a safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable manner.