Identifying Solutions for the Harvesting & Logistics Sector
Truck Weights and Configurations Research
Georgia has among the lowest gross vehicle weight limits for log trucks in the South, the US, and internationally. Experience in the US and internationally demonstrates that allowing heavier log trucks will reduce transportation costs, pavement damage, fuel consumption, and carbon dioxide emissions.
The Georgia Forestry Foundation funded research with the Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources to develop recommendations regarding Georgia’s regulations for log truck weights and configurations and determine the safety and efficiencies gained through a shift to heavier trucks.
Interstate Routing Research
Logging business owners and the forest products industry have advocated for weight parity between Interstate Highways and state and U.S. highways for many years. In Georgia, the weight limit on state and U.S. highways is 84,000 pounds total, including 48,300 pounds per two axles (including state weight tolerances)—limits that allow logging trucks to haul their loads to mills that are often located in metro areas. But on interstate highways, log trucks are limited to 80,000 total pounds, including 34,000 pounds per set of axles. Log trucks operating on interstate highways must also comply with the Federal Bridge Formula requirements. Consequently, loaded log trucks rarely travel on Interstate Highways in the South.
The Georgia Forestry Foundation and Forest Resources Association funded research at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources to quantify the benefits of shifting log trucks from backroads and highways to Interstates. Hauling cost savings were also observed in six of the eight wood baskets analyzed. Estimated annual savings for a typical logging business ranged from $3,369 in the Prattville, AL wood basket to more than $20,000 in the Augusta, GA and Brewton, AL wood baskets. Cumulative estimated annual savings across all eight wood baskets totaled $7.4 million.
Forest Logistics Summit
The Georgia Forestry Association, Georgia Forestry Foundation, and the Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources at the University of Georgia co-hosted the Forest Logistics Summit on January 25, 2019 in Tifton, GA. More than 120 loggers, log truck owners, foresters, mill representatives, insurance industry representatives, and university researchers discussed the challenges the industry faces in timber transportation, and most importantly, identified solutions. Each speaker provided actionable solutions to improve the southern wood supply chain.
Log Truck Liability Insurance Costs, Trends & Solutions
Hauling timber accounts for 25-45 percent of overall timber harvesting costs in Georgia. The highest volume of wood is hauled by small to mid-sized operations with 3-10 trucks. In recent years, liability insurance premiums have put a large amount of stress on the average-size operation, with some experiencing up to 300 percent increases and others being denied coverage completely.
GFF funded research with the Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources to identify the root causes and potential solutions for the rise of log truck insurance rates.