May 5, 2015 – Camoplast Solideal Inc. recently acquired Eastwood Tyres to strengthen its position in the Asia-Pacific market. The business will assume immediate responsibility of the Eastwood facility in Auckland, New Zealand including all staff, inventory, receivables, and equipment.

“We are committed to being the global reference in delivering enhanced mobility solutions for the off-the-road market,’’ says Gregory Fossey, vice-president and CEO of Asia-Pacific at Camoplast Solideal. “We are always on the look out for businesses willing to join us and help achieve this goal.”

The Eastwood acquisition marks Camoplast Solideal’s first true brick and mortar venture into the New Zealand market. Building off Eastwood’s established network, the business will continue to grow its material handling and construction tire distribution business by providing the right tire, for the right application at the right time. 

Eastwood’s existing material handling service footprint will also help grow the Camoplast Solideal service network throughout the country. 

“We look forward to continuing a strong relationship with Eastwood. As one team, we will deliver superior, reliable products and services for real needs and applications for our clients,” said Fossey.

Camoplast Solideal and Eastwood Tyres have enjoyed a 25-year manufacturing and distribution partnership. Together, they will be ideally placed to improve upon the already-strong relationship with tire dealers and distributors in the region. 

The acquisition further demonstrates the organization’s unyielding commitment to maintain their leadership position in the market by growing their footprint to provide excellence in both product delivery and mobile tire service.

About Camoplast Solideal
Camoplast Solideal is a world leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of off-road tires, wheels, rubber tracks and undercarriage systems to serve the material handling, construction, agricultural and powersports industries. It employs more than 7,500 dedicated employees and operates advanced R&D centres and manufacturing plants in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Camoplast Solideal is a supplier to leading original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and distributes its products in the replacement market through its global distribution network. 
April 30, 2015 - Canadian Forest Industries’ first resource roads management maintenance webinar drew approximately 25 attendees interested in learning how to extend the lifetimes of the roads they maintain and build.

Glen Legere, research leader of the resource roads group for FPInnovations, kicked off the presentation by discussing road surface distress and failure modes.

In B.C. alone, at least 450,000 km of road are unpaved.

“The conditions of the roads are directly related to transportations efficiencies,” he said. 

This includes transportation efficiency factors such as cycle time and speed, safety, and user costs – like fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance costs. 

He said dust, corrugation, ravelling, potholes and ruts are the most common distresses.

“Dust is very often caused by lack of fines, prolonged dry conditions and excessive winter sands,” he said.

Legere offered causes and solutions for each of the distresses, and added that one of the most destructive forces that cause potholes on resource roads is poor drainage, which often comes from poor crown.

To prevent potholes, his recommendations included maintaining crown at four to six per cent, offering additional training for grader operators and having slope meters in graders.

He then discussed cost-benefits and life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA).

“Life-cycle cost analysis is about looking at roads as long-term investments,” said Legere.

LCCA can effectively combine and quantify the costs and benefits that are expected to occur over time.

By using “discounting,” it is possible to evaluate the tradeoffs between initial rehabilitation costs and future maintenance costs, including all anticipated costs and benefits over the life of a road network, he explained. 

“The objective is to find the most cost-effective solutions,” said Legere.

Maintenance costs that should be incorporated into an LCCA include routine grading, snow removal, winter sanding, annual reshaping, dust control, repairs, stabilization and resurfacing.

Legere also shared a few of FPInnovations’ latest technologies, introducing the crowd to various tools for planning, monitoring and managing resource road maintenance, including its FPDat Grader and FP Trak, which are currently available for purchase.

FPInnovations is also currently reviewing use of existing smartphone road roughness apps for research purposes.

If each member of the crowd could only take away one lesson learned from the webinar, it should be LCCA-related, according to Legere.

“Use the LCCA approach to make strategic decisions. This is the key message today,” he said.

April 28, 2015 – Kenworth now offers the Meritor Front Steer (MFS) non-drive axle family rated from 12,000 to 14,600 pounds in standard and wide track options for selected Class 8 trucks and the Class 7 Kenworth T370.

The axles, which are fully compatible with both disc and drum brakes, are available for applications such as linehaul, pickup and delivery, construction, refuse, logging and mining.

According to Meritor, the new MFS axles offer up to a 55-degree turn angle for excellent maneuverability and vehicle stability. Unique Easy Steer bushing technology helps reduce steering effort and provide longer life. Durability, low maintenance and ease of service are provided by a combination of low-friction bushings, double draw keys, and integral thrust bearing and seal designs. Easy Steer king pin bushings, computer-designed and optimized I-beam construction, and stiff axle assembly combine to deliver tight turning radius along with superior vehicle control and longer tire life.

“Meritor’s Front Steer non-drive axles provide a great wheel cut for added maneuverability and are designed for long-life with minimal maintenance required,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “It’s a nice addition to the Kenworth product offering that will benefit our customers.”

April 17, 2015 - Resource Roads I – Maintenance management solutions 

Date: April 29, 2015

Presenter: Glen Legere, FPInnovations

Canadian resource road networks, composed primarily of unpaved roads, provide year-round access for sectors such as forestry, energy and mining, as well as general public access for remote communities and recreation. 

Maintaining safe and reliable access to these roads in a cost-effective way is a huge challenge. The level of maintenance, such as grading and resurfacing, will vary for each road and is strongly dependent on factors such as traffic volume, road surfacing quality, season of use and climate. 

Resource roads are an important asset and should be managed with a long-term vision while incorporating life-cycle costing analysis (LCCA) principals where transportation and maintenance costs are optimized. 

This webinar will discuss road surface distress and failure modes, cost-benefits of LCCA and tools for planning, monitoring and managing resource road maintenance.

And all of this for only $25!

To register for the webinar, click here.

March 31, 2015 - I joined the Truck Loggers Association (TLA) in January as the new executive director after working for 10 years as a financial analyst for ERA Forest Products Research – an independent financial research shop located on the Sunshine Coast. As an analyst, I viewed the B.C. forest industry from 30,000 feet, as part of a broader global industry perspective following world markets and trade. In my new role, I’m standing on the stumps alongside B.C.’s coastal forest contractors. And, from my new ground level view, I can see the turbulence created by the challenges facing B.C.’s forest industry on a regional level.

The most serious challenge I see facing TLA members today is contractor sustainability. We need to ensure contactors can create jobs and make investments that are necessary for stable community economies, while at the same time ensuring the log supply to sawmills remains intact. It is clear the supply chain is at risk because, despite a market rebound in forest products over the last few years, the balance sheets of many contractors are unhealthy, in contrast to many of the licensees.

For any industry to flourish, the entire supply chain needs to be healthy. What we have now for the B.C. coastal forest industry is a supply chain where some links are strong and some are crumbling under severe strain.

No Logger, no logs
Such a situation is unsustainable. How can TLA members attract new workers to the industry when they cannot offer them the wages or job security provided by other natural resource sectors where their skills are also valued? Conversely, how can TLA members take on the time and expense required to train new workers to work productively and safely when contract rates are unsustainably low? You could say contractors are in the bight, between a falling tree and a cliff.

When the contracting community is unhealthy, it means rural community stability and the outlook for the entire forest industry is at risk, too. Since the recession, more than 25 B.C. contractors have sought insolvency protection. Each time that happens, the economic ripples are felt across the community. People in rural towns lose well-paying, local jobs and suppliers who lent money in good faith all lose out as well. The examples are numerous and the situation is getting worse.

Auctioning our future?
And it seems every month, more logging equipment is going to auction by those who can no longer see a positive future. In the winter issue of Truck Logger BC, the article “Tough Decisions Facing The Logging Sector” highlighted two contractors leaving the industry. Bryan Gregson of Copcan Contracting, based in Nanaimo, B.C., explained it this way, “We were constantly told our rates were too high but at the same time, the return on the capital we had invested in equipment was simply not there anymore.”

Bruce Jackson of Bruce Jackson Contracting, based in the southern B.C. Interior, talked of a similar situation. “Is there recognition for fuel costs, rising wages, parts or repairs? The answer is no. The industry standard rate is what you get. Take it or leave it.”

Many TLA businesses are multigenerational and have operated in the same area for decades as licensees come and go. We lose a vast knowledge base when a contractor leaves the industry. However, without a serious discussion on rate-related topics, we will lose the contractors needed to support the growing global demand for our forest products, which means this is not just a contractor issue, but one that threatens the entire industry and the communities they support.


David Elstone - David is the executive director of the Truck Loggers Association



Dec. 4, 2014 - On February 26, 2014, truck drivers who haul containers to and from shipping terminals at Port Metro Vancouver and who are members of the United Truckers Association of British Columbia stopped work. They were joined two weeks later by members of Unifor – Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association. The drivers were protesting low wages and long wait times at port terminals.

Because the economy of British Columbia is dependent on commodity exports, the reaction to the work stoppage was one of great concern.

“If we cannot deliver coastal forest products in a timely and dependable manner through Port Metro Vancouver, we will lose our customers to offshore competitors,” said Coast Forest Products Association president and CEO Rick Jeffery. “This will have a disastrous ripple effect that will reverberate through our companies, impacting thousands of jobs and lives as well as the stability and economies of our communities and the province.”

The work stoppage, which cost an estimated $885 million per week, went on for almost a month, with drivers and their employers trading accusations and threats.

The other players – Port Metro Vancouver, terminal operators, ocean carriers, freight forwarders and customers – called on the truckers and the trucking companies to settle so that everyone could get back to work.

After the B.C. government threatened back-to-work legislation, there was a last-minute flurry of negotiations, and on March 27, Premier Christy Clark announced a settlement. And with that, the estimated 1,800 striking truckers got behind the wheel again and headed back to the port.

The news of the settlement was met with both a sigh of relief and a sense of resignation. The 2014 disruption followed similar walkouts in 1999 and 2005, and some people believe there could be more of the same in the future.

Critical port
Port Metro Vancouver, where the container truckers ply their trade, is huge in area and in importance to the local, provincial and national economies. Port jurisdiction covers more than 600 kilometres of shoreline, which border 16 municipalities, one treaty First Nation and 28 marine cargo terminals.

It is Canada’s largest port and is tied for second place (after Los Angeles-Long Beach) on the west coast of North America. In 2013, the port handled a record 135 million tonnes of cargo, an increase of nine per cent over 2012.

Port Metro Vancouver is served by a small army of licensed trucks, most of which are owner-operated. The trucks move thousands of containers throughout the Lower Mainland, the port’s hinterland. Trucks account for about one-half of the traffic in and out of the port, the other half moving by rail.

Trucks move approximately 1.3 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per year through Port Metro Vancouver. Based on 2011 economic impact study figures, the value of those goods is approximately $46 billion. Specialty grains, animal feed and such forest products as pulp, paper and lumber are the main commodities exported in containers from Port Metro Vancouver.

Truckers’ strike hurt forest industry
“Exports of Canadian softwood lumber to Asia – Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea – increased dramatically beginning in 2008,” Council of Forest Industries (COFI) president and CEO James Gorman said. “But then they fell in the first quarter of 2014 due to the Vancouver port strike.”

According to COFI’s estimates, softwood lumber exports from B.C. to Japan and from B.C. to China each fell by almost 40 per cent between the third quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. The negative impact is not surprising because of the symbiotic relationship between Port Metro Vancouver and the forest industry. Softwood lumber is a big player at port terminals, says Gorman.

“The export of wood products is critical to the successful economics of the port,” he said. “Measured by tonnage, 32 per cent of outbound shipments come from the forest industry. No other economic sector is close to that.” In addition, Gorman says, almost two-thirds of total container exports carry forest products.

Eight years ago, five out of six containers that were shipped to Port Metro Vancouver from China returned empty. “Now it’s less than one in three,” Gorman says. “The difference is forest product exports to China.”

What caused the strike?
There were two main causes of the work stoppage at Port Metro Vancouver, says Gordon Payne, chairman of Harbour Link Container Services Inc. in the Vancouver suburb of Delta, B.C. For several years the truckers have had long waits to gain access to the port, and, once inside to complete a transaction.

“Before the work stoppage was called, some truckers had been waiting three to four hours for a single pick-up or delivery,” Payne said. “Because most of the truckers are owner-operators and are paid by the job, the lengthy waiting times reduce the money they earn. It’s no surprise they were upset.”

Severe winter weather in eastern North America had made the congestion worse; there was a shortage of intermodal rail cars, which caused containers to back up at Port Metro Vancouver’s terminals.

New technology to clear the air
The work disruption ended with the adoption of a 14-point Joint Action Plan to address the truckers’ concerns. The Plan was developed by the federal and provincial governments and Port Metro Vancouver, all of which have jurisdiction over different parts of the port’s operations.

According to the terms of the Plan, the federal government agreed to boost the trip rates paid by truckers by 12 per cent over 2006 rates.

There is also a new escalating fee arrangement to compensate truckers for excessive wait times. The fees – which are in fact penalties – will be paid by the terminal operators to the truckers. Drivers will be paid $50 after 90 minutes of waiting. After two hours that fee will go up by another $25.

Also part of the Plan is the Common Data Interface (CDI) project, which will collect digital records of truck entries and departures at gates and terminals. After the data has been collected and crunched, it will be used to help co-ordinate multi-shift operations and develop a centralized appointment scheduler for container trucks.

The CDI will also complete the installation of GPS technology in container trucks at the port. According to Transport Canada, which is helping to finance the initiative, GPS in every truck will provide a complete, accurate and real-time base of data which will provide routing and operational information to help manage congestion and wait times.

Is the settlement a solution?
Although the truckers have been back at work for six months, not all of them are pleased with the settlement and some of them have been making noises about going off the job again. The forest industry has its fingers crossed.

“Port Metro Vancouver is a vital link to the world economy for B.C. and for Canada,” said COFI’s James Gorman. “It is critical to have a lasting solution.”

There is certainly some reason for optimism. “Turn-times have gone down a lot since early July, between eight and 15 per cent,” said Philip Davies, principal of Davies Transportation Consulting Inc. in Vancouver. “That’s a significant decrease.”

On the other hand, says Darryl Anderson, managing director of Wave Point Consulting Ltd. in Victoria, B.C., a return to work does not necessarily mean a lasting solution. “Since trucking operations are so complex, it will take significant leadership and time for industry to define exactly what the Plan will mean in practical operational terms,” Anderson said. “I’m confident that everybody involved knows what’s at stake. The question is, can they put aside their individual short-term commercial interests and act for the benefit of the long-term health of Port Metro Vancouver? It’s uncertain.”

What will happen next? “It’s an ongoing adventure,” said Davies.


Sept. 24, 2014, Abbotsford, BC – A mix of industry professionals totaling 10,362 gathered at TRADEX in Abbotsford, British Columbia, September 19-20, 2014 for TRUXPO, Western Canada's largest commercial trucking show. Held biennially, TRUXPO is THE event where industry meets to source and compare new products and see the latest in commercial truck and transportation equipment and services.

"This year's show was an unquestionable success," said Mark Cusack, National Show Manager. "Traffic was steady throughout the two-day event and attendance surpassed our expectations. Exhibitor feedback about the quantity and quality of visitors has been overwhelmingly positive. And we were thrilled that members of the Indo-Canadian community came out in especially high numbers in support of their industry."

"We found the quality and volume of the traffic up from previous years at TRUXPO," said Kevin Olson-Brooks, Sales Manager with Harbour International Trucks, an exhibitor with this year's show. "The show was well-attended and customers seemed to be relaxed and enjoying themselves. Advertising was up this year, which definitely drove traffic into the show."

"It was an awesome show – the best in the past eight years," said Johnny Z with ZZ Chrome, who also exhibited at this year's show. "We don't usually sell at the show, but we sold over $30,000 in equipment. I also talked with several other exhibitors and they indicated it was the best show ever!"

A variety of special features helped to bolster attendance at TRUXPO 2014 – including the BCTA Sector Update Conference, which took place immediately prior to the show opening; an industry luncheon with keynote speaker Michael "Pinball" Clemons; an educational component with seminar sessions geared to drivers and industry personnel; special performances by multicultural entertainment; and a professionally organized and judged Show & Shine.

The success of this year's edition would not have been possible without a strong relationship with our presenting partner, the British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA).

"BCTA has always been proud of our affiliation with TRUXPO, but the 2014 show amply demonstrated that partnering with Master Promotions Ltd. was a wise choice," said Louise Yako, President & CEO, BCTA. "The additional events and promotional activities provided great value to the show's exhibitors and visitors alike. It was energizing to be at TRUXPO to see so many industry people enjoying the show, being exposed to and learning about new technologies, equipment and opportunities, as well as having the chance to re-connect with old friends and make new acquaintances. Participation in the show demonstrated the strength of the industry and the fact that the future is very bright."

The next edition of TRUXPO will take place in 2016; stay tuned to for details.

Sept. 11, 2014 - The TLA would like to announce that Dwight Yochim, RPF, Executive Director of The Truck Loggers Association since September 2012, is no longer with the Association.

"Over the past two years, Dwight has been a strong supporter of the coastal forest industry and has led significant initiatives to ensure recruitment of young people into forestry," said Don Banasky, TLA President.

"The coastal forest industry is growing. It's a renewable industry with significant potential to create jobs and provide local, well paid career opportunities for young people," said Banasky. "Dwight made sure the opportunities were identified through completion of the BC Forest Sector Labour Market & Training Needs Analysis and subsequent development of the British Columbia Coastal Forest Industry Human Resource Strategy which he led. We thank Dwight for his hard work and wish him every success in the future."

Looking forward, the TLA will now be seeking a replacement for this challenging and rewarding role as an industry leader and advocate for the TLA membership.

For more information, contact:
Brenda Martin
Director of Communications
The Truck Loggers Association
T 604.684.4291 ext. 2
C 778.339.7554
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sept. 5, 2014, Englehart – Steven Nychuk and his company's drivers must be prepared for just about anything.

As an excavating and log hauling company based in Englehart, Ontario, S Nychuk Excavating's trucks routinely hit deep potholes and hard knobs and climb or descend steep hills when delivering logs from contract sales on Crown forestlands in Ontario's boreal forest region to area mills. Nychuk's trucks haul various species of logs including jack pine, white birch and balsam fir as a subcontractor for other contractors with loggers, skidders and other logging equipment out in the woods.

When hauling logs, Nychuk trucks average about three trips per day, generally at a gross weight of 57,000 kilograms or about 125,000 pounds on each trip. The trucks also pull over-dimensional loads on float trailers with four or five axles. The over-dimensional loads generally consist of the company's own loaders or various equipment for road building and paving contractors.

"We need trucks equipped for a variety of on-highway and off-highway hauling," said Nychuk. The company recently took delivery of its first Kenworth T880, equipped with air suspension, a 52-inch sleeper, a 500-hp PACCAR MX-13 engine and an 18-speed transmission. The T880 is assigned to his father-in-law, Carson Presseault.

For more than 25 years, Nychuk has relied on Kenworth trucks, and local Kenworth dealer Timmins Kenworth and New Liskeard Kenworth in northern Ontario to assist the company in choosing the right specifications for those trucks. The company operates a fleet made up of three tractors, including the new T880, to haul logs and equipment and three straight trucks with dump bodies to haul gravel and aggregate. Its usual Kenworth truck of choice, the Kenworth T800, a popular mainstay in the logging industry, has provided the company a stout, reliable platform for years.

While logging companies are typically hesitant to try something new, Nychuk gave the Kenworth T880 a try at the recommendation of Timmins Kenworth.

"When you see the Kenworth T880, you definitely see a difference in how it looks," Nychuk said. "It's certainly caught people's attention out there in the bush. Loggers really like its look."

But the biggest differences with the Kenworth T880 that's caught Nychuk's attention, and the attention of other logging truck operators, involve the productivity gains its new features offer. Its larger panoramic windshield allows the driver to see more of the road.

"One of the major reasons I bought the Kenworth T880 was its simplified wiring harnesses," Nychuk added. "It's clear to me that when Kenworth engineers designed this truck they took into consideration the needs of truck operators for a more simplified layout. It makes for much easier servicing."

Nychuk also appreciates the performance of the 500-hp PACCAR MX-13 engine. It offers all the torque and horsepower drivers need to pull heavy loads even though it has a smaller displacement than the standard 15-liter engine the company typically chooses.

"The Kenworth T880 has a shorter sleeper - 52-inch instead of 60-inch, but it still feels a lot bigger," he added. "When Carson moves between the seats, he can actually stand up. It's a much more comfortable work environment for him."

Its larger panoramic windshield allows the driver to see more of the road. And though it may seem simple, drivers really like the truck's new mirror set-up, Nychuk said. "Where the mirrors are located on the Kenworth T880 makes it much easier for drivers to navigate in and out of a log yard and to see where loggers are standing when they are out in the bush."

Nychuk said his company generally replaces trucks every three years, since they travel an average of about 120,000 kilometers annually. Having good equipment that not only looks good, but also provides reliable service to contractors is key to the company's success. Nychuk said the typical high resale value of a Kenworth truck makes it easier to follow through on that aggressive trade cycle.

"We're looking forward to getting the same high resale value for this Kenworth T880 that we get from our other Kenworths," he said.

August 18, 2014, Kirkland, Wash., – Kenworth Truck Company is adding a natural gas option for the Kenworth T880, the company’s flagship vocational truck.

The Kenworth T880 day cab and 52-inch mid-roof sleeper configurations now can be specified with the factory-installed Cummins Westport ISX12 G 400-hp natural gas engine with 1,450 lb-ft of torque. The ISX12 G is available with manual, automatic and Eaton UltraShift® Plus transmission options, including 10-speed LAS and 13-speed MHP series.

The natural gas option is ideal for Kenworth T880 dump trucks, mixer, refuse, pickup and delivery vehicles, and other applications operating with up to a maximum of 80,000-lb. gross combined vehicle weight (GCVW).

The Cummins Westport ISX12 G can run on either CNG (compressed natural gas) or LNG (liquefied natural gas) fuel systems. The engine uses a maintenance-free, three-way catalyst and does not require a diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank, diesel particulate filter (DPF) or selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology. Kenworth works with such companies as Agility Fuel Systems, Trilogy Engineered Solutions, and McNeilus to provide natural gas tanks and fueling systems.

“Kenworth continually expands our product offerings to meet customer needs and requirements,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “The new, natural-gas powered Kenworth T880 especially appeals to vocational fleets and truck operators interested in the T880’s excellent durability, reliabilty and driver comfort combined with cost-efficient natural gas.”

The Kenworth T880 also includes an air-assisted hydraulic clutch, complex reflector headlamps, 5-piece Metton® hood for easier and faster repairs, and lightweight, factory-installed lift axles. The T880 uses Kenworth's 2.1-meter wide, stamped aluminum cab, which is robotically assembled. The cab has a comfortable 23 inches of room between the seats.


July 30, 2014, Kirkland, Wash. – The Kenworth T680 and Kenworth T880 are now available with the fuel-saving SmarTire Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) by Bendix CVS as an option when specifying these models.

The factory-installed Bendix system uses wheel-mounted sensors in each tire to monitor the tire's pressure and temperature. Sensors are located on the steer and drive axle wheels. If tire pressure becomes too low, or tire temperature becomes too high, the system sends a signal to the driver via the dash display. Operating at recommended tire pressure is important for optimal tire life and fuel economy.

"Fleets and truck operators are becoming more proactive in addressing tire inflation as they strive to maximize each truck's fuel efficiency," said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. "Now, with the Bendix system for the T680 and T880, they can take advantage of an easier, very efficient and time-saving way to regularly monitor tire pressure and temperature and gain enhanced tire life. The result can be less downtime and more money in their pocket."

According to Bendix, a tire that is under-inflated by as little as 10 per cent can result in a 1.5 percent drop in fuel economy, which may increase fuel spending by up to $1,000 per year for a single truck. Under-inflation by 20 per cent results in a 30 per cent reduction in tire life. A tire failure on the road due to improper tire inflation can also rack up large roadside assistance charges, depending on when and where they occur.

For more information call or visit a local Kenworth dealer, or visit

Kenworth Truck Company's internet home page is at Kenworth is a PACCAR company.

June 24, 2014 - Whether for the forestry, mines, or energy sector, Canada is crisscrossed by hundreds of thousands of kilometers of resources roads. With increasing traffic volumes on these roads and more industrial sectors using them, there is an urgent need to assess the influence of traffic on transport safety and productivity. In B.C., for example, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO), is faced with demands for industrial developments along many portions of its network of forest service roads (FSRs). However, it does not currently have the tools to assess the influence of traffic on the productivity and safety of its resource road network, or what is known as the “safe traffic capacity.” More explicitly, safe traffic capacity is the maximum permissible traffic volume under which road user safety is not impacted. It is, of course, very important to know the safe traffic capacity of the existing network and evaluate how it can be increased (e.g., with traffic controls or road upgrades) in order to accommodate current and future growth in resource road traffic.

Being well aware of FPInnovations’ expertise in the field of transportation and resource roads, the FLNRO mandated the Resource Roads research group to support their decision-making process with hard data. The mandate is to create a traffic flow model specifically designed for the province’s resource roads, as well as the impact of innovative solutions that could mitigate traffic issues wherever found.

Both summer and winter surveys were performed in 2013. Key variables that we found to influence traffic on resource roads were eventually classified into two categories: safety and productivity. Road design and maintenance, speed, personal impairment and lack of radio communication are the predominant contributing road collision factors on resource roads in B.C., as identified by WorkSafe BC in a study in July 2009. However, the influence of these factors on safety is not easy to measure or quantify.

Crash or collision statistics are the preferred basis for researching traffic safety, but collision data for B.C. resource roads are gathered by a variety of agencies and data vary by agency mandate. If collision data cannot be found to support an analysis, measures such as level of service and trip delays may offer alternative ways to assess road user safety. Productivity was taken into account by evaluating the fundamental traffic measures of speed, flow and density. These variables were analyzed as a function of seasonality, time of day, day of the week, road alignment (grades and horizontal curves), and pull-out use.

Much stills needs to be done to assess the safe traffic capacity of Canada’s resource roads. For B.C., one thing that would greatly help is if a comprehensive database were created of the number and types of crashes that occur on forest service roads in B.C. That would truly be an essential step for evaluating traffic safety on B.C. resource roads. Our research has also sparked an interest from members in other provinces. As such, FPInnovations is currently collecting data on high traffic resource roads in Alberta where traffic volumes of over 1,000 vehicles per day have been documented. Funding for this research is also supported by NRCan’s Transformative Technologies program.

Allan Bradley is the Associate Research Leader of Resource Roads, Forest Operations. For more information on traffic engineering, please contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

April 7, 2014 - As those in the forestry sector know well, truck driving is not for the faint of heart. It is a potentially very dangerous occupation with many risks to manage, especially in B.C.’s mountainous terrain. That’s why industry groups in that province are doing more than ever to make sure workers are protected, with new safety training programs, stepped-up awareness campaigns and plans to lobby the government for changes to federal transportation legislation.

In 2005, seven forestry sector truck drivers died in British Columbia. This breathtaking level of tragedy spurred the formation of the B.C. Forest Safety Council’s ‘Trucksafe’ program. “That year was a terrible year with all the deaths, and something had to be done,” says Mary-Anne Arcand, who headed the program for its first five years and is the long-time executive director of the B.C. Central Interior Logging Association, based in Prince George. “When we started the program, it largely started off as an awareness-raising initiative,” Arcand says. “The average age of forest industry truck drivers was 58 at the time, and there can be some complacency with people who have done anything a long time. Providing some reminders about safe and unsafe practices was a very good thing, and we continue to do that.”

Arcand points out that most of the forestry truck drivers in B.C. who get hurt or killed are not behind the wheel when the incident occurs. “Drivers might get hit by a log as they are tightening a load, they might fall, they get crushed because all the brakes aren’t applied properly,” she explains. “That’s why the job is different than other types of trucking jobs. There are very large machines involved, and very heavy objects.” Arcand adds, “We have a million loads of chips, hog fuel, logs and lumber delivered each year in B.C. Only a few of them aren’t safe, but that’s not good enough.”

In the years after 2005, it’s heartening to see that number of B.C. forestry industry trucker fatalities and injuries dropped and stayed steady. From 2006 there were three deaths, from 2007 to 2010, one death a year. In 2011 and 2012, there were none and one. (Note however, that a few of these fatalities involved heart attacks and strokes.) Injury rates involving trucks also decreased. These good results were due to TruckSafe, as well as better safety education by individual companies, but the economic downturn that started in 2008 was also a factor. The recession resulted in much less forestry industry activity, with a great deal fewer trucks and drivers on the roads. Many of the logging and chip truck drivers left the forestry business and went to the mining or oil industries.

Then last year, an astonishing eight drivers met their deaths. As with the decrease in fatalities due to the recession, that situation was partly a result of forestry activity having picked up again, with more log-hauling and chip/hog fuel-hauling trucks making runs. “There’s also an economic imperative to hurry, to try to make up for lost time,” Arcand says. “Another factor in the accident and fatality rate is that other industries such as mining are using the roads that were previously only used by forestry. There are safety issues created from too much traffic, and from the fact that the roads and bridges are being used by trucks that they were never designed for.”

So, the outreach and education continues. ‘Trucksafe’ has evolved to become the ‘Transportation Safety’ program, and has been expanded to include aircraft and boats. It is still run by the B.C. Forest Safety Council. “I’ve been in presentations where it was explained how someone was seriously injured or died,” says Arcand, “and I’ve seen the faces of truckers go white and they say ‘Oh no, I do that.’ And they realize ‘There by for the grace of God, go I’ and it’s a wake-up call. So, they hopefully never use that unsafe practice again.”

The B.C. Forest Safety Council (BCFSC), in collaboration with the province’s trucking and logging associations, is also creating an industry standard of skills and knowledge for forestry sector drivers. It should be completed by the end of this year. “The standard will address regional issues as well, such as the terrain in different parts of the province,” says Arcand, “and it will have room for improvement and change. It will always be a work in progress, as different truck designs and new issues emerge as time goes on.” Administration will likely be handed by BCFSC.

The industry has also created a driver-training program. First, students get their commercial truck driver licenses, and then they are partnered with a trucking contractor for mentoring in hauling logs or chips and hog fuels. Arcand says they are all usually hired by the contractor who mentored them. “The need for drivers and operators is great,” she says. “There are some companies where 40 per cent of the equipment is sitting idle. That’s no good for anyone.”

Exemption for ABS brakes
All across Canada, anti-lock ABS brakes and automatic slack adjusters cause lots of trouble for logging trucks. “ABS brakes are designed for highway trucks, and not suited to off-road use,” says Mary-Anne Arcand, executive director of the B.C. Central Interior Logging Association. “They are required on all trucks under federal legislation, but they fail in the bush on rough terrain, and in the snow and ice.” The ABS valves seize. Mud, snow, ice and dirt damage sensor cables and plug ABS sensor discs or tooth wheels, causing the entire system to malfunction. Schedule X braking systems are tougher and safer – all that is required, says Arcand.

“We are being penalized with fines for broken parts and malfunctioning ABS systems when we come out of the bush and onto main roads, and this is not fair,” she explains. “Our association is working with the three other B.C. logging association and we are taking a two-pronged approach. We have convinced a brake manufacturer to come and look at the buckets of broken parts, to try and start a discussion about modifications and solutions. The other part is that we are pulling together recommendations for lobbying to change federal law in co-operation with other provinces, requesting a 100 per cent exemption from having to have ABS systems in logging trucks.” There is a precedent, in that low bed trucks are exempt already.

Wayne Lintott, general manager of the B.C. Interior Logging Association, describes a recent survey of contractors, owner-operators and truck drivers involved in log hauling. “We found that there are many premature failures with ABS braking systems, particularly in off-highway use situations,” he says. About 84 per cent of survey respondents felt that the ABS systems did not perform satisfactorily in log hauling applications.

In a recent article in the Association’s magazine ‘Truck Logger B.C.,’ Lintott quotes a couple of experienced industry stakeholders about their concerns, one of which is runaway vehicles: “When going down a hill, a driver is able to maintain control by using both the brakes and the Jake brake. If a computer shuts off the Jake brake, then the truck has lost one of the two holdbacks that a driver has. With the Jake brake gone, speed dramatically increases and it is nearly impossible to keep control…with my experience, I feel ABS brakes are a hazard to the safety of drivers.”

Another drive person Lintott quotes, a driver with 30 years’ experience, says: “ABS brakes…have no place in the logging industry. Then comes the most concerning of all, the safety factor. ABS will either work or it will not and in most logging applications it will not work. This causes the driver to have to continually adjust driving to compensate for the faulty ABS system. The driver never knows if he is locking up one axel or all axels. This is not a good feeling when you are on 12 per cent grade in a snowstorm. Another safety concern of mine is that ABS valves are supposed to not interfere with normal braking if the ABS fails. I have seen more than one case where an ABS valve has failed and has not allowed air to get to the service brake which takes the brake out of service.”

We asked Transport Canada (TC) if it agrees with these findings about ABS brakes under off-road conditions. The Ministry responded “TC is aware of concerns related to the maintenance and operation of ABS-equipped logging trailers used off-road within B.C. The Defect and Recalls Division of TC has not received any complaints regarding ABS brake systems on vehicles operating in off-road conditions in other provinces or territories.”

When asked if TC was going to consider an exemption of mandatory ABS brakes on logging trucks, why or why not, and if so, what would be the likely timeline, TC responded: “At this point, there is insufficient evidence for TC to consider exempting the braking systems of logging vehicles from the requirements for ABS. TC mandates the installation and performance requirements of ABS brake systems on new and imported heavy trucks and trailers.  TC does not have jurisdiction over vehicle use, maintenance or modifications. While the regulation of new and imported motor vehicle safety standards falls under federal authority, it is within the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories to regulate vehicle usage, maintenance and modification. As such, provinces or territories could authorize vehicle modifications (such as to braking systems), if they so choose.”

Recruitment of forestry sector truck drivers in B.C. is going well, but Arcand says current recruitment levels are not sufficient to replace those retiring. Wayne Lintott, general manager of the B.C. Interior Logging Association, says it’s tough to attract workers due to a combination of factors, such as the lure of big salaries in the oil patch, the seasonal nature of forest industry work, and the long hours each day.

On the plus side, some of the drivers who used to drive log trucks and left to go to the oil patch and the mines are returning, and some new drivers want to try the forestry industry over these other sectors. “I’ve heard that some of the drivers who’ve been in the mining industry are leaving because it’s so boring,” Arcand says. “They want to be out on interesting roads and see nature.”

She adds that with log or chip hauling, a driver gets to go home at night and for a young man with young kids, that’s very attractive compared to having to stay nights away in an oil camp or mining camp. “Forestry in B.C. may involve some camp situations in the future, but right now, it’s community-based and that’s important for lots of drivers. And wages are going up a little.”

Stay tuned in the coming months for updates on this story.

Note: Mary-Anne Arcand has passed away since this article was written. We extend our condolences to her family and colleagues.

Mar. 4, 2014 – The new GT Radial GDM635 on/off highway drive tire is being introduced in North America to provide mixed service fleets consistent traction and effective protection against stones and long tread wear.

Featuring a full inch (32/32nds) of tread rubber for outstanding durability and wear, the GT Radial GDM635 is currently available in the 11R24.5 size. It is backed by the GT Radial six-year limited warranty.

"We're excited to kick off the year with the introduction of an outstanding new drive tire for on/off highway applications," said Justin Wright, commercial product marketing manager for Giti Tire USA, which markets and sells GT Radial tires in North America. "The GDM635's deep lug tread design is one of the tire's strongest selling points, offering a full inch of rubber to get the job done."

Wright said the new deep-tread drive tire is perfectly suited for a variety of mixed service fleet operations, including logging, mining and oil field services.

The GT Radial GDM635's aggressive independent block design is optimized to provide consistent traction, and the tread's v-shaped grooves with stone ejectors offer effective protection against stone retention and drilling. The tire has been engineered with four belts, which provide effective casing protection for outstanding durability and retreadability. It has a special cut/chip tread compound to resist cutting, chipping, chunking and tearing in harsh off-highway environments.

Giti Tire USA is the sales and marketing operation in North America for Giti Tire Pte. Ltd., which manufactures GT Radial brand tires for passenger, SUV, light truck, truck, bus, and high performance vehicles. In truck and bus tires, the company provides a wide range of GT Radial long haul, regional and mixed service products in North America. Most of the GT Radial premium long haul line is verified by SmartWay: GSL213FS for steer axles, GT669+FS for drive, and the GT979FS (low profile sizes 22.5 and 24.5 only) for trailers.

GT Radial tires are sold through distributors, independent dealers and retailers throughout North America. For more information, visit

Feb. 19, 2014 - This is the seventh year that the Canadian Truck King Challenge has pitted the most popular pickups in the country against each other. However how we do it each September is no different from what you do every day of the year – and that’s the point. So, the rain, mud and cold are a vital part of testing; my judges and I have to feel what you feel, contend with what you contend with and ultimately appreciate what you appreciate – and judge each feature along the way.

As in years past we tested at my IronWood site in Kawartha Lakes, Ont. We use a public 19-kilometre test loop that consists of a hilly gravel road, broken twisting asphalt and a smooth highway section. We take trucks out in groups of five and drive them round and round – switching drivers on each circuit until all five judges have driven all five vehicles. The trucks are always used in the same condition: all empty, all towing or all with payload. Back-to-back testing is the best way to compare vehicles.

 It took us about 2 ½ hours to do a complete back-to-back test; then we’d head to the yard for the next five. We do this over and over for 10 hours a day for two days, making notes and scoring along the way. And while 19 kilometres doesn’t sound like much by the time we were finished, collectively, we drove over 4,000 kilometres.

So, what happened? Well, 2014 is going to be a big year for Ram; the work it has been doing for at least the past five years is all coming together now and it showed up in the scoring. The company’s technology, design work and the will to take chances crystallized in one unique pickup truck.

 The overall points winner of the Canadian Truck King Challenge is the 2014 Ram 1500 powered by the 3.0L EcoDiesel with 8-speed transmission. This is a revolutionary setup – one that we feel is going to be copied very quickly – but it deserves credit right now. It takes guts to be the first and this small diesel from Ram works very, very well. Price-wise the diesel will be a $4,500 option; however, it will be available on every trim level except the absolute base.

At a lower price point (in our under 45K category) Ram did it again with the 2014 Ram 1500 powered by the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with the 8-speed transmission. This powertrain speaks to the other holy grail of truck ownership – power, capability with decent fuel economy. There was a time when this was simply impossible, remember? Not anymore. In large part this is due to the 8-speed gearbox – again a revolutionary step forward. For that matter all the Rams – 3L diesel, 3.6L V6 and 5.7L Hemi all came to IronWood with 8-speed transmissions. This gearbox worked well in all configurations during every test.

The three Detroit-sourced HD trucks were tested outside London, Ont. Because HD owners tow a lot, that’s what we do too. Each truck was outfitted by the manufacturer with a fifth-wheel hitch and we partnered with Can-AM RV centre towing 14,000-pound fifth-wheel RV trailers over a 300-kilometre route. The next day we stripped the fifth-wheels out and loaded up 3,000 pounds of IKO shingles and set off on a 200-kilometre route. Once again the judges switched up back to back during the driving.

In this HD category it was the 2500-series Ram equipped with the 6.7L Cummins diesel that won out – though just. Last year saw the Silverado HD in first place; however, for 2014 it still suffers from the dated interior, poor video screens and older software of last year. Mind you, we have already seen the 2015 Chevrolet and that’s all been fixed – but for now, we can only grade what we get. Ram was in a similar boat last year but for 2014 Ram’s chassis was upgraded and strengthened while the engine was also tuned up and converted to use the DEF fluid for cleaner combustion and better mileage (though still not the best).

Truck king tables 

Three categories: three wins
One high-tech addition this year was the installation of data readers in each truck. We contracted a third-party company (recommended by Natural Resources Canada) called MyCarma to have a technician on site both days to record and interpret the fuel economy data from readers they installed in each truck. We made a point of recording each truck in each condition. Empty, loaded, and towing. The resulting figures are as real-world as they get. During each stage of testing, trucks were hot-swapped by the judges (never shut off) as they traded vehicles. They idled between loops and recorded the fuel used by the judges as they tested acceleration, braking and handling. No Dyno testing here – these numbers are real and dirty, just like those that everyday owners might achieve.

Testing notes and overall summary
Payload this year was 1,000 pounds of patio stones on pallets. Trailers were twin-axle dumps and car carriers. Most trailers weighed in at 6,000 pounds – another at 6,100 pounds and one at 6,900 pounds. The weights varied because the trucks sent to us all had different limits – so we tried to give heavier trailers to trucks that claimed higher towing limits. Also, the smallest truck, the Toyota Tacoma hauled 3,500 pounds. All the judges agreed that generally all trucks hauled well, but the torque of the Ram 3.0L diesel with 8-speed automatic stood out; its air suspension also held the load level and felt firm on the road and made its attitude with a trailer on always level. The Tundras, while new this year and powerful, still suffer from a lack of chassis rigidity, though special mention is deserved for the new 1794 trim package. This has to be one of the most upscale interiors put in a pickup.

The Fords generally felt good during all the testing (and at the moment, they are the oldest models we tested) – but the surprise for most judges was how well the base 3.7L V6 handled the weight in the bed and while towing. Its overall cost and fuel economy was impressive. However, three of the four Fords we were given for testing had electrical gremlins in their trailer lighting hookups.

The new 2014 GMs are strong, trannies are smooth, but the ride is slightly twitchy under load and several judges had steering complaints. The new interiors are nice: they feature excellent materials and layout. They also had several innovative features in the truck beds such as integrated steps in the bumper and lighting under the box lips. On the fuel side, note how close the results are between the GM 5.3L V8 and the newer 6.2L V8 – way more power and very little extra fuel consumption.

The off-road is the shortest test. It’s done on a half-mile-long course consisting of muddy hills, rock-strewn fields, a water-filled trench and an off-camber test to get the wheels in the air. Three things showed up out in the field this year.

First, with builders looking for more aerodynamic advantages, they keep adding length to the front air dams, which resulted in several trucks scraping repeatedly through the course. Second, the mechanical rear differential locker on the GMs works well and is still unique; otherwise, the trucks all handled the course, except in the off-camber where the GM’s rear differentials nicely locked up when power went to the lifted wheel. Third, and this is a gripe that’s several years old, the Fords still have the electrical hookups below the bumper where they collect mud, dirt and grime.

As with many tests, much is based on opinion. However, it is educated opinion offered up by five Canadian automotive journalists with well over 150 years of combined trucking experience. Numbers do tell a tale, though, so it’s worth looking at the overall scores as averaged among the five judges.

The first thing that stands out is how close they all are. This means that there really isn’t a bad truck in the bunch. Each has strengths and weaknesses, but as in any competition there must be a winner and a loser, and we feel confident in our choices.

truck king score

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