With a mandate to promote education within the forest industry, the PLC show in Oregon gave school kids a good look at career opportunities.

Not to diminish the difficulties Canada’s forest industry is currently facing, but if you think you’ve got it rough, talk to one of your truckers. In addition to dealing with all the recessionary challenges that are currently facing forest companies, truckers have their own issues to contend with.

Just under two months before the doors open for the Resources Expo in Prince George, B.C., all indications are that the three-day event will be a major success.
The show, which will run from June 3 to 5, is the first event to place all of the province’s central and northern major resource industries under one roof. The show will also include a face-to-face job opportunity and training component.

It takes just a few minutes of sitting across the desk from Deon Hamlyn in the circa 1920s building that houses the offices of Kruger’s Corner Brook Pulp and Paper (CBPP) mill in western Newfoundland to discover how passionate he is about productivity and machine utilization in the woods. A few more minutes with Hamlyn, who is one of the division’s logging operations superintendents, and he is pulling electronic components and mobile satellite devices out of a storage cupboard to illustrate the progression of electronic datalogger equipment that has been developed over the years by the FERIC Division of FPInnovations.

There’s something just a little different about Millson Forestry Service in Timmins, Ont. Maybe it’s the warm and friendly greeting you get from Nikita, the rescued shepherd cross who hangs out in the warmth of the office all day, or it might be the laid back, nothing is too much trouble sentiment you glean from Sue and Dave Millson, the husband and wife team who run the company.

The most stringent emissions standards ever for heavy-duty diesel engines are just around the corner, and they’ll be accompanied by a hefty price increase. Over the past couple of months, truck makers have been announcing 2010 pricing, and if you haven’t been paying attention you could be in for a real case of sticker shock when it’s time to replace your ride.

Canada’s forest industry literally consumes pickup trucks; they are tools and they have to work. That’s why truck buyers across the country have followed the Canadian Truck King Challenge with interest over the past three years – it tests trucks the way they are used – in the field. And that is always of interest to commercial and private buyers alike. Also many of these rigs do double duty. In fact, companies like Ford have estimated that as much as 25% of its SuperDuty trucks also serve as tow vehicles for RVers, boaters, snowmobilers and the equine crowd. Not to mention how many half-tons also haul groceries.

It’s a new year, and with it comes new regulatory burdens for the trucking industry. Most notably in '09, it’s the mandatory use of speed limiters in both Ontario and Quebec. As of January 1, it has been illegal for any heavy-duty truck built since 1995 (when electronic speed governors became a standard engine function) to not have that limiter set at a maximum speed of 105 km/h.

An idle machine is the devil’s workshop as far as the forest industry is concerned. Whether it’s in the mill yard or out in the bush, we like to see our rolling stock rolling. If there’s a piece of iron with too much time on its hands, the assumption is we have too much iron.

The newest F-150 is now coming off the assembly line in Dearborn – and though it’s still referred to as a “half-ton” truck, it’s anything but. In fact, with the highest towing and payload capacities ever it’s sure to cause a stir among potential buyers – but capacity aside, this newest Ford F-series pickup now in Canadian showrooms is also one of the best equipped.  

While people still talk about “saving trees” when they avoid using paper, that claim is now even more ridiculous than ever. As the chart opposite shows, the Canadian pulp & paper (P&P) industry moved from being a consumer of roundwood in 1965 to an industry based clearly on the use of building product residues and recycled paper in 2005. Not only should that drastic change have implications on the way the sector is perceived by the public, it should also have profound implications on the way we manage our forests moving forward.

If one of the first rules of kindergarten is to put things back where you found them, the management and staff at the Coopérative Forestière Girardville (CFG) have learned their lesson well. Thanks to two new mechanical planters from Sweden, the silviculture specialists seven hours northeast of Montreal are working closely with Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife (MNRW) to put even the most extreme and nasty sites right back into production. Given the recent reductions in allowable cuts across Quebec, that’s good news for everyone.

Once again, the cost of trucking will be increased due to regulatory requirements south of the border. This time however, it’s safety – not the environment – that’s driving the change.

In the current tough climate, managers and foremen can help their businesses survive (and later thrive) by reviewing their normal operating procedures to recuperate here and there what I call “Money lost in the routine.” In most operations there is a lot of work that can be done in this field, and quite a bit of money that can stay in your pockets. In fact the savings mentioned below represent the minimum amounts for each change made (and consistently adhered to). This money is real; money I have seen in past efficiency projects.

Truckers like to gripe about fuel prices – and lately, they have every right to do so. The cost of diesel has reached unprecedented heights, and there’s absolutely nothing log or chip haulers can do about it. While truckers and trucking companies can’t control the price of fuel, they can control how much they use. This can be accomplished by spec’ing for fuel economy, eliminating unnecessary idling and adopting proven fuel-saving devices. Each of those tactics has been covered in this space before.

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