May 7, 2015 - Finning International Inc., a Canadian company and Caterpillar's largest heavy equipment dealership globally, recently announced it has reached an agreement to purchase the operating assets of the Cat dealership of Kramer Ltd. for approximately $230 million, subject to working capital adjustments. 

"Expanding Finning's Western Canadian operations into Saskatchewan is a great strategic fit and represents a compelling growth opportunity for our company, employees, customers and shareholders,” said Scott Thomson, president and CEO of Finning International. “We have great respect for the Kramer family legacy and everything they have achieved. We will build on their strong heritage by growing the business, providing our customers with a terrific experience, and contributing to communities in Saskatchewan. This acquisition is also a testament to our current Finning employees in Canada who have worked tirelessly to put us in the strategic and financial position to make this opportunity possible.”’

In 2014, the acquired dealership business generated approximately $275 million in revenue. Finning will become the approved Cat dealer in Saskatchewan in July of this year, subject to customary closing conditions. After a remarkable 70 years of service in Saskatchewan, the Kramer family has decided to retire from the equipment dealership business.

"It's been an honour to lead the Kramer Cat dealership for the past 23 years and I am proud of our organization's many accomplishments,” said Tim Kramer, president of Kramer Ltd. “Having spent considerable time with members of the Finning team, I am confident Finning will be a great addition to the province of Saskatchewan and our employees are joining a successful Canadian business that cares about its employees, customers and the community."

This acquisition combines complementary capabilities, customer bases and highly skilled employees across Finning's territory in British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories and part of Nunavut with Kramer's presence in Saskatchewan.

The two companies already share common customers who operate across these adjacent territories and will benefit from the continuity and support of a single dealer. Customers will also benefit from improved equipment and parts availability, world-class product support and access to Finning's extensive branch network of 50 locations.

For Finning, Saskatchewan is a highly attractive growth opportunity that diversifies its revenue base into sectors such as potash and uranium. The acquisition will be funded with cash and will be immediately accretive to earnings per share.

Joining Finning is a talented and dedicated team of 475 Kramer employees with a deep understanding of the local market and well-established customer relationships throughout the province at parts, sales and service locations in Estevan, Kindersley, Battleford, Regina, Saskatoon, Swift Current and Tisdale in addition to Cat Rental Stores in Regina and Saskatoon.

Tony de Sousa will be based in the Saskatchewan headquarters, which will remain in Regina. Tony has been with Finning for 39 years and has extensive senior leadership experience in sales, service and operations. He and his family will move from Edmonton to Regina.

"I've known Tim Kramer for many years and have tremendous respect for the business he, Don and the entire Kramer family have built in Saskatchewan,” said de Sousa, vice-president of Finning Saskatchewan. “I’d like to extend a heartfelt welcome to Kramer employees to the Finning family. I'm looking forward to learning from their experience, customer relationships and understanding of the local market."

"This is a historic day for Finning,” added Juan Carlos Villegas, president, Finning Canada and chief operating officer, Finning International. “We are passionate about keeping our employees safe, enabling our customers' success and building communities. With that in mind, we are pleased to appoint Tony de Sousa as the executive to lead the Saskatchewan operations. In addition to his impressive experience, Tony brings a genuine commitment to developing our people, growing our business and serving our customers."

In support of this acquisition, Finning's financial and legal advisors were RBC Capital Markets and Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, respectively.

About Finning
Finning International Inc. is the world's largest Caterpillar equipment dealer delivering service to customers for over 80 years. Finning sells, rents and services equipment and engines to help customers maximize productivity. Headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., the company operates in Western Canada, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, as well as in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

About Kramer
As the Caterpillar dealer in Saskatchewan, Kramer sells, rents and provides service to diverse market segments across the province. Founded in 1944, Kramer employs approximately 475 people, including approximately 160 mechanics, and operates seven dealership operations in Regina, Saskatoon, Estevan, Swift Current, North Battleford, Kindersley and Tisdale, as well as rental locations in Regina and Saskatoon.

Forward-looking information
This report contains statements about the Company's business outlook, objectives, plans, strategic priorities and other statements that are not historical facts. A statement Finning makes is forward-looking when it uses what the Company knows and expects today to make a statement about the future. Forward-looking statements may include words such as aim, anticipate, assumption, believe, could, expect, goal, guidance, intend, may, objective, outlook, plan, project, seek, should, strategy, strive, target, and will. Forward-looking statements in this report include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to: expectations with respect to the economy and associated impact on the Company's financial results; expected revenue; expected free cash flow; EBIT margin; ROIC; market share growth; expected results from service excellence action plans; anticipated asset utilization; inventory turns and parts service levels; the expected target range of the Company's net debt to invested capital ratio; and the expected timing and financial impact from the proposed acquisition of the operating assets of the Caterpillar dealership in Saskatchewan. All such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the 'safe harbour' provisions of applicable Canadian securities laws.

Unless otherwise indicated by us, forward-looking statements in this report reflect Finning's expectations at May 6, 2015. Except as may be required by Canadian securities laws, Finning does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Forward-looking statements, by their very nature, are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties and are based on several assumptions which give rise to the possibility that actual results could differ materially from the expectations expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements and that Finning's business outlook, objectives, plans, strategic priorities and other statements that are not historical facts may not be achieved. As a result, Finning cannot guarantee that any forward-looking statement will materialize. Factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by these forward-looking statements include: general economic and market conditions; foreign exchange rates; commodity prices; the level of customer confidence and spending, and the demand for, and prices of, Finning's products and services; Finning's dependence on the continued market acceptance of Caterpillar's products and Caterpillar's timely supply of parts and equipment; Finning's ability to continue to improve productivity and operational efficiencies while continuing to maintain customer service; Finning's ability to manage cost pressures as growth in revenues occur; Finning's ability to reduce costs in response to slowing activity levels; Finning's ability to attract sufficient skilled labour resources to meet growing product support demand; Finning's ability to negotiate and renew collective bargaining agreements with satisfactory terms for Finning's employees and the Company; the intensity of competitive activity; Finning's ability to raise the capital needed to implement its business plan; regulatory initiatives or proceedings, litigation and changes in laws or regulations; stock market volatility; changes in political and economic environments for operations; the integrity, reliability, availability and benefits from information technology and the data processed by that technology. Forward-looking statements are provided in this report for the purpose of giving information about management's current expectations and plans and allowing investors and others to get a better understanding of Finning's operating environment. However, readers are cautioned that it may not be appropriate to use such forward-looking statements for any other purpose.

Forward-looking statements made in this report are based on a number of assumptions that Finning believed were reasonable on the day the Company made the forward-looking statements. Refer in particular to the Outlook section of this MD&A. Some of the assumptions, risks, and other factors which could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements contained in this report are discussed in Section 4 of the Company's current AIF.

Finning cautions readers that the risks described in the AIF are not the only ones that could impact the Company. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to the Company or that are currently deemed to be immaterial may also have a material adverse effect on Finning's business, financial condition, or results of operations.

Except as otherwise indicated, forward-looking statements do not reflect the potential impact of any non-recurring or other unusual items or of any dispositions, mergers, acquisitions, other business combinations or other transactions that may be announced or that may occur after the date hereof. The financial impact of these transactions and non-recurring and other unusual items can be complex and depends on the facts particular to each of them. Finning therefore cannot describe the expected impact in a meaningful way or in the same way Finning presents known risks affecting its business.
May 5, 2015 - Ontario is investing in the forest roads which connect industry to Ontario's natural resources, as part of the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario's history. The provincial govement is committing $60 million to the program in 2015-16.

The government is also making the province's forestry sector eligible for the $2.7 billion Jobs and Prosperity Fund to help increase production capacity and expand into new markets, while ensuring resources are managed sustainably. This will also help modernize the forestry sector and facilitate the production of value-added products by supporting new technologies.

The government will continue with reduced stumpage rates for 2015-16 for poplar and white birch trees to further assist the competitiveness of Ontario’s forest sector.

“I am very pleased with our government’s unprecedented support to the forestry industry in Ontario," said Bill Mauro, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. "The $60-million investment to the forest access roads program, the continued reduction in stumpage for poplar and white birch, and the fact that the forest industry will now have access to the Jobs and Prosperity fund, are a huge win for an industry that generates $11 billion in economic activity in 260 communities across Ontario.” 

Over the past ten years, $605.2 million has been provided toward the forest industry’s expenditures on the construction and maintenance of public forest access roads that support forest harvest activity.

Annually, Ontario invests in the construction and maintenance of over 21,000 km of forest access road infrastructure. This is equivalent to travelling across Canada and back.
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 www.TRUXPO.com 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 www.bendix.com.

Kenworth Truck Company's internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. 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
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.

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