The normal size of a truck and trailer in Sweden is 24 meters length and 2,6 meters with a total weight of 64 metric tons. As bioenergy from the forest is becoming more and more important, Skogforsk (the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden) has investigated using larger trucks for chip transport in a full-scale research project.
Efficient chip transports
After an extended state process to get permission to use special trucks on a specific road, a 74-ton truck entered the test route in 2014. Later, from February 2020, a 98-ton truck was used for the test. Several studies have been made concerning fuel consumption and scale technique. Based on those studies analyzes of the financial conditions could be made.
The result shows that a 34-meter, 98-tons truck doesn´t have any unexpected problem to navigate in the Swedish traffic, even in urban areas. The 98-tons alternative have economic advantages if the gross weight is at least 80-tons, meaning approx. 50-tons payload or more. Otherwise, a normal 64-ton, 24-meter truck is a more economic option.
The 74-ton option that also was tested during most time of the project, turned out to be sensitive for the payloads and have therefore given negative results concerning fuel saving in this study.
The methods for weighing that was tested with the integrated scales on the trucks turned out to be too inaccurate to be used in practice.
Transports in the forest
The normal length of a truck in Sweden (and Finland) is 24 meters. We wrote about such a truck here at NordicWoodJournal.com. In the rest of the EU, it’s 18 meters, and ever since Sweden entered the EU in 1995 it has been discussed if Sweden should adapt to the EU in this matter.
Very much thanks to the important forest industry and its transports, the fact that Sweden has roads for 24-meter trucks and that long vehicles means a smaller number of transports, Sweden has managed to keep the 24-meter trucks in all branches. So, if studies shows that the roads mean no “unexpected” limits, why not make the trucks longer?
In north Sweden there are vast forested areas where very few vehicles use the roads apart from the timber trucks. Here, it would, to my mind, be perfect to use real road trains for the timber. Our trucks, Volvo and Scania, already offers trucks of 700 – 800 hp, so that part is no limit.
I guess there are other issues to take into consideration before we let the road trains loose. Traffic safety and brake systems on the trailers are things I know very little about. All I know is that it works in other countries.