Transport and logistics solutions – Umgano Forestry upgrades capacity
Umgano forestry project upgrades timber loading and haulage capacity...
Transport and logistics is one of the biggest challenges faced by the Umgano forestry business, and constitutes 40% of the costs, according to Zweli Baleni, CEO of Umgano Devco.
Initially the forestry team used a tractor and bundle trailer to move harvested timber from the field to a roadside depot. It was picked up from there by transport contractors who hauled the timber to Sappi-Saiccor in Umkomaas, a distance of around 190 kms. This journey includes a long stretch of rugged, gravel road.
Last year IDC came on board with a loan to enable the Umgano Devco to purchase new loading and transport equipment to help cope with the increased volumes that resulted from the commencement of pine harvesting for the sawmill, and to give the forestry team more versatility.
A new Dezzi haulage tractor and 6-meter tip trailer replaced the old tractor and bundle trailer combo and handles the shorthaul from in-field to the depot and sawmill. Shorthaul distances range from six to twelve kms.
“We needed more versatile equipment to be able to handle the pine for the sawmill, as well as the gum pulp and up to seven-metre poles,” explained Peter Nixon of Rural Forest Management. “The Dezzi is faster and more powerful, and can travel at between 20-30km/h.”
The Devco also purchased a new Mercedes Benz Axor timber truck equipped with a Palfinger crane for loading and offloading. The truck, which has a 30 ton payload, is used to haul one load of pine to the sawmill per day, and to haul pulp timber to the Donnybrook rail siding, a distance of some 60 km from the plantation. The balance of Umgano’s pulp timber is hauled by independent hauliers to Sappi-Saiccor.
According to Peter, negotiations with Transnet Freight Rail to re-open the branch line to Riverside are on-going. Riverside is just 18 kms from the plantation. Peter says if this line was re-opened, it would save the forestry business R2 million a year net in transport costs alone.
The Umgano Devco also purchased two Bell loggers, one assigned to the plantation, and the other to the sawmill.
*Published in SA Forestry magazine, August 2016