Heavy weight champion roars ahead

Heavy weight champion roars ahead

Weighing in at 104 tonnes, this giant is the heaviest vehicle of its kind in Europe. The timber truck, a Scania R730, is currently being tested on Finnish roads in the hope that more heavily loaded vehicles will be able to reduce both transport costs and environmental impacts.

The words Iso, mutta hyvätapainen – Finnish for “I am big, but well behaved” – are printed on the cabin of this 104-tonne timber truck. The Scania R730 is the heaviest vehicle of its kind in Europe and is taking part in a high-capacity transport trial in Finland.

The aim of the trial is to potentially open the way for the use in Finland of vehicles weighing more than 76 tonnes – the current maximum allowable weight. Metsähallitus State Forestry Enterprise, the organisation behind the project, hopes that allowing more cargo per vehicle will mean a reduction in transport costs and the number of transport movements on Finnish roads, as well as reduced environmental impacts.

The trial is investigating how the heavy vehicle affects roads and bridges as well as traffic safety and emission levels. The hope is that road wear and tear won’t be greater than that caused by the 76-tonne vehicles allowed today.

“We need to check on road strength and furrows forming on the road surface,” says Ari Kilponen, Head of Unit Strategy Planning, ELY Centre Finland. “However, roads in Finland are frozen solid half the year and therefore suffer less.”

Scania – the best at heavy haulage

The Giant, as the 104-tonner is known, is 33 metres long, has 13 axles and consists of a tractor unit, a semi trailer and a trailer. The vehicle has been given permission by the Traffic Safety Agency to drive between Ivalo and Rovaniemi, a 300-kilometre long stretch in northern Finland.

On the route, the truck is driven over a bridge where the driver can control the traffic lights with a remote control. The driver is required to drive in the middle of the bridge with no other vehicles on the structure at the same time to avoid potential collapse. The stretch of road also includes a two-kilometre long up-hill section where the truck is really put to the test, with speeds sinking to 30 km/h on the last part.

The Giant is owned by haulage firm Ketosen Kuljetus OY, whose owner Risto Ketonen hopes that the heavy vehicle will lower fuel costs. “We chose Scania as tests have shown that Scania is best at heavy haulage in these conditions,” he says.