Travelling with a container load from the Faroese capital of Torshavn out to the surrounding Faroe Islands is something that driver Lassin Weihe has been doing for more than 20 years. But these days it is with a new sense of pride that he skillfully manoeuvres his truck through the breathtaking landscape, characterised by steep cliffs, tall mountains, deep valleys and narrow fjords. Now he does the drive in a brand-new Scania S 730.
Weihe, a Faroese native, has lived his entire life on this far-flung island archipelago, which lies in the North Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Scotland and Iceland. At the age of 15, he followed the age-old tradition of enlisting for the arduous work on board a fishing trawler. After four years at sea, he returned to dry land and started driving trucks.
Throughout the intervening years he has driven for Faroe Ship, the leading shipping and logistics company on the Faroe Islands. The company, founded back in 1919, has terminals and warehouses on several islands and also owns the country’s largest fleet with 27 trucks for domestic transportation.
New generation Scania
Faroe Ship handles the majority of the seaborne exports from the Faroe Islands, most of which is fresh, frozen and dried fish and seafood. As a subsidiary of Icelandic company Eimskip, it carries goods to and from the Eimskip vessels that call at Faroese ports several times a week.
Formally a self-governing nation within Denmark, the Faroe Islands are not part of the European Union and as such have their own laws, which means the obligatory EU cap on driving times does not apply. Those regulations are irrelevant anyway, since the maximum driving distance is 1.5 hours, including loading and unloading at each end as well as a friendly chat and a cup of coffee. “I do 6–7 round trips per day but I rarely work weekends. I really enjoy work except for an occasional day during winter, but that’s something you need to accept.”
Faroe Ship has a mixed-brand fleet but as soon as Fleet Manager Johann Behrens set eyes on the new generation Scania, he was convinced. “I used to be a service technician and with that background I insisted that our new truck should be a Scania.” And when the choice was made, why not go for the very best?
“This is an incredible truck”
Some might question why the flagship S 730 is needed for the relatively short runs between the islands. Weihe dismisses all objections and knows better than most why the power is needed on the undulating Faroese roads, punctuated by steep climbs and descents. “Lately, we haven’t had much snow here but heavy winds and storms are common. Occasionally, we have to park and wait for the winds to subside. Otherwise, we might get in real trouble.”
Perhaps a greater peril on the roads is the 70,000 sheep that roam nearly everywhere, outnumbering the Faroe Islands’ human population by 20,000. Although drivers are wary, collisions are not uncommon, but they are expediently settled with the payment of 3,000 Danish krone or 400 Euros. “What’s worse is that they damage the bumper, which costs much more,” says Suni Hansen, Faroe Ship’s Driving Coordinator.
Meanwhile, Weihe climbs the four steps to the tall S-series cab. “This is an incredible truck. It’s difficult to fault; the truck as a whole with the handling, the comfort, well… everything makes this a great vehicle.”