Sneak Peek: ROADBOSS Rides With Titans Of Timber

In the second issue of ROADBOSS Magazine Cobey Bartels hitches a ride in a high-productivity Fennell Forestry AB-triple for a scenic two-day logging expedition across the Green Triangle, travelling from forestry to mill carting some of Australia’s finest timber. Here’s a snippet of the story …

Driving south-east out of Adelaide, the air is dry and hot as we enter logging country. We aren’t far from the coast, but it feels rural and the vision of vineyards is quickly replaced by towering pine and blue gum as far as the eye can see.

Out here logging trucks reign supreme, loaded to the brim with fresh-cut logs from across the Green Triangle – the six million hectare region spanning the border of South Australia and Victoria, which accounts for around 20 per cent of Australia’s forestry plantations.

Something about these logging rigs feels timeless and it may be because the vital freight they carry predates road transport altogether. In the late 1880s when the region’s logging exploits really kicked off, it was done with horse and cart – a far cry from the B-doubles that rule the roads these days.

Pulling into a desolate industrial estate in Monarto, about an hour from Adelaide, we are set to link up with an operator from Fennell Forestry, one of the region’s leading harvesting contractors. Instead of a typical logging trailer, we are instead met by a flat-bed AB-triple combination hitched up to an immaculate Kenworth K220.

Rather than simply running logs to the mill, only to return empty, Fennell Forestry uses custom built flat-bed Vawdrey trailers for its two AB-triples, with removable aluminium stanchions the driver deploys when loading logs, or leaves flat when running finished timber.

The Fennell Forestry AB-triples measure up at 36.5 metres and are rated for an operating weight of 110 tonnes, and according to the company they also boast emissions savings of 60 per cent compared with single-trailer logging setups.

“They’ve been specifically made for this application, so two 12-metre trailers and one six-metre trailer to match in with the packs of timber,” Fennell Forestry driver Leon Johnston explains.

“The point of this combination is it can run finished timber or logs, but it’s never empty, meaning if there’s product to be carted, we’ll cart it.”

Fennell Forestry runs a fleet of four AB-triple line haul trucks and 11 B-double and A-double logging trucks, too, but it’s the versatile triples we’re here to see.

The journey will see us riding along with Leon on his daily run carting logs from the Fennell Forestry yard in Monarto to the Timberlink mill in Tarpeena, before heading back the way we came carrying finished timber.

As it turns out, Leon took out the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) Employee of the Year award for 2023 – so we were in good hands at least.

To read the full story, grab a free subscription to ROADBOSS Magazine here.

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