“The Mack is durable and hardworking enough to cope in the heavy environment.”
It’s tough work in the logging plantations around Invercargill, but Southern Heavy Haulage’s two Macks have more than proven themselves.
Roy Agnew has spent over two decades in transport. A former truck driver and transport company owner, he joined Southern Heavy Haulage as the Operations Manager for Southern Transport at the beginning of 2016, where he oversees the company’s Trident 535 and Super-Liner 600 carting machinery into the forests.
“We’re pretty hard on the trucks and they’re able to withstand the wear and tear of their job. They’re good for a heavy load and being able to get going,” Roy says.
It was the sheer size of the Mack that attracted the company to buy another Super-Liner at the beginning of 2018 to expand their fleet. With the main application carrying large harvest machinery, few trucks came close to the weight requirements.
“The Super-Liner can take heavier loads. It has a 130-tonne gross vehicle mass to be able to get the loads through. We can carry anything from the 5-tonne digger to a 110-tonne large piece of harvesting machinery,” he says.
At times, the truck is used in other applications in the parent company, Southern Transport, where it might be used to cart a concrete panel or flat slabs as far away as Canterbury. The company has five different trailer configurations to meet the demands for a variety of applications and the challenges of the geography.
The Pinus radiata forests just outside Invercargill are harvested in 30-year cycles and the terrain can be tough. Second-rate roads and tight turns can be unforgiving.
“Invercargill itself is flat, but most of our forest tree planting land is in marginal country, so it has been planted out rather than being used as farmland,” says Roy. Once the Macks get into the logging roads it’s pretty tough work to get in and get out again. The terrain has very steep gradients at times.”
The roads are often made of metal or are newly-formed with tight skid bays.
“They’re hard work alright, those roads, they’re not exactly state highways,” he adds.
Despite the difficulties, Roy is happy with the performance of the Mack in the forests.
“By the nature of the terrain, the work is tough,” says Roy, “but the Macks have coped really well.”.
Roy’s Macks are being kept busy by a local booming log industry and a healthier economy, with New Zealand pine a popular export item.
“The export log has been on a good wave at the moment,” says Roy, “We shift the machines into the bush so that the pine can be harvested.”
A typical day will see the Mack start at about 5am to ensure that machinery is in place for the logging crews to start at day break. Whether it’s hauling the machinery or diggers into the site, or shifting them between bush blocks, the challenging geography is testament to the toughness of the Mack.
“It’s a hard job,” say Roy, “but the Macks are durable and hard-working enough to cope in the heavy environment.”