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Using CTI, Proper Configurations to Extend Hauling Season

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. - In an attempt to extend the hauling season, Weyerhaeuser has been exploring how central tire inflation (CTI) can help maximize truck hours.The forestry giant teamed up with tru...


GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. – In an attempt to extend the hauling season, Weyerhaeuser has been exploring how central tire inflation (CTI) can help maximize truck hours.

The forestry giant teamed up with trucking contractor South Cariboo Enterprises to evaluate CTI and other possible ways of improving efficiencies.

The strategy: Extend the hauling season; improve payloads; improve earnings and use of log trucks; and eliminate barriers that prevent the delivery of wood.

Weyerhaeuser’s Dennis Young said that co-operation between the mill and hauling contractor resulted in the experiment being a success. South Cariboo tested CTI on four tandem-drive picker trucks, and in return, Weyerhaeuser made its truck scale available to truckers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In the end, truck hours were increased from 2,100 per year to 4,000. CTI also enabled South Cariboo to increase summer payloads and helped with driver retention as driver earnings improved considerably.

“As other drivers saw this, they wanted to work for South Cariboo,” said Young.

During the summer months, 100,000 to 150,000 cubic metres of additional wood was hauled.

“The increased hours and payload covered the cost of the CTI investment (for South Cariboo),” said Young.

“Driver acceptance of CTI was positive. There were some training issues and we had some issues with drivers wanting to adjust their CTI for certain road conditions.”

He said drivers occasionally became too confident with CTI and tried to tackle extremely poor road conditions when it would’ve been best to park.

“Even with the technology, you still have to shut down sometimes,” said Young.

Now, most of Weyerhaeuser’s contractors use CTI, and the sought-after summer volume is allotted to those carriers who have made the investment in it.

However, Young said Weyerhaeuser doesn’t dictate what kind of equipment contractors should operate.

“We’ve backed away from saying ‘this is what you have to have in your haul fleet,'” said Young. “But we’ve seen more and more tri-drives because they’re the best off-highway unit for our application.”

That seems to be a trend among forestry companies. Many say they are leaving purchasing decisions up to the contractor rather than dictating what machinery they should operate.

Larry Lefebvre of Ainsworth said his company has a flat rate based on a 42,000 kg payload. If carriers spec’ their equipment to haul more than that, it’s icing on the cake for them.

“We set our rates for 42,000 kg payload and we have contractors who are getting 43,000, 44,000 kgs,” said Lefebvre.

“They spent the money to spec’ those trucks and trailers accordingly. We want the contractors to make their own business decisions.”

Ainsworth’s rate is based on the assumption haulers will operate tandem super-Bs but the company doesn’t frown upon contractors who opt for more versatile equipment, while sacrificing payload.

“The key is to keep the annual hours up on the truck,” said Lefebvre. “What other jobs can that trailer do besides hauling logs for us? They can haul (short logs) for us for five days and if they’re off they can go haul long logs for somebody else. We wanted to have some flexibility in the configuration.”

Lefebvre says the tri-drive is a popular option in the winter but it’s not as attractive for summer hauling.

Jeff Brooks, operational superintendent with ANC, says his company also refuses to dictate to contractors what configurations they must run. However, he says they’ll certainly lead them down the preferred path.

ANC pays one rate for the entire season. By encouraging its contractors to use the best configuration for the job, the company has seen truck hours increase from 1,500 to 2,900 per season.

It’s also hauled 30 per cent more wood with 30 per cent fewer trucks.

Still, Brooks said the contractors weren’t directly told what configuration to run.

“If I would have went out and told them to use this configuration, every single problem ever associated with this configuration would have been mine,” he said.

Rick Eliuk of Eliuk Transport said there are several motivating factors for choosing the right configuration.

They include: payload maximization; flexibility; road systems; percentage of time on- and off-highway; and the ease of loading/unloading.

His company has tried countless configurations over the years.

“We’ve had to keep changing to stay on top of the latest (regulations) and get the best payload,” said Eliuk.

“Now we stay in contact with the mill and see what direction they’re going so if we need to change something, we can change it when it’s convenient for us and it’s not a knee-jerk reaction.”


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