Good cooperation in logistics for reliable deliveries

Our partner, transport company Kuljetusliike Kalevi Huhtala Oy believes in the power of cost-effectiveness and proactive problem-solving.
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  • 2022, Sawn timber

The logistics sector has revamped its image in recent years. Digitalisation replaces stacks of paper, and the Internet of Things supports loading, unloading and transport operations. Rail and air cargo play an important role, but road transport will continue to be used where no other competitive transport mode exists.

Kati Huhtala, CEO of the transport company Kuljetusliike Kalevi Huhtala Oy, points out that road transport has a strong foothold in Finland.

“We keep close tabs on the development of vehicle technology. Electrical and hydrogen cars are on the way, but for now, the engines of articulated vehicles are so big that alternative fuels cannot yet replace biodiesel as the driving power,” Huhtala says.

HCT vehicles reduce the carbon footprint

Kuljetusliike Kalevi Huhtala was established in 1982 and specialises in industrial bulk transports. Over the decades, the company has grown into an international logistics expert of nearly 200 professionals and more than 100 vehicles. It has also been closely involved in the development of top-class Finnish logistics.

The company began using biofuels several years ago and was one of the first Finnish companies to receive a test permit for HCT articulated vehicles.

HCT (High-Capacity Transport) vehicles are substantially larger than standard articulated vehicles. They have a notably smaller carbon footprint per transported unit than traditional road transports and vehicle fleets. In larger vehicles, payload accounts for a greater proportion of the overall weight. HCT vehicles therefore reduce the burden on the road despite their higher weight.

Thanks to their high transport capacity, fewer lorries are needed. Kuljetusliike Kalevi Huhtala operates 15 modern HCT vehicles, which carry payloads that are on average a third larger than those of standard vehicles.

Towards full automation alongside Rauma sawmill

Advanced logistics play a very important role at Metsä Fibre’s new Rauma sawmill. Kuljetusliike Kalevi Huhtala has already allocated a fleet operating 24/7 to the sawmill’s port transports.

“Rauma sawmill production is continuous so transports must keep to the same speed. The sawmill and the port are three kilometres apart, and the sawmill can produce several loads of sawn timber an hour,” says Huhtala.

The sawmill does not have a warehouse for sawn timber. All its production is immediately transferred to the packaging and dispatch centres, and from there to the transport unit, which features automated loading.

Lorries have clearly demarcated stopping points, and smart conveyors transfer the packaged sawn timber batches from the dispatch centre to the transport unit. The driver opens and closes the side doors by remote control. All this saves both time and space.

However, efficiency must not be at the cost of product and occupational safety. The articulated vehicles used in heavy industry must meet stringent requirements for steering and stability, and they must be equipped with advanced emergency braking and driver assistance systems, electronic stability control and electronic braking.

The customer should not need to worry about the cost-effectiveness or technology choices of the transport.

Metsä Group as a partner from the start

Metsä Group has partnered with Kuljetusliike Kalevi Huhtala from the outset. Kouhi sawmill, now known as Metsä Fibre’s Merikarvia sawmill, was its first customer.

“Every sawmill and pulp mill is unique. Transport professionals must be able to interpret the customer’s needs when the invitation to tender arrives in their inbox,” says Kati Huhtala, who has been at the helm of the family-owned company since 2016.

“Competition in the field is stiff, and capital-intensive operations are susceptible to economic fluctuations. Success requires a keen ear for customer service, reliable services and the adoption of the latest technology.”

“In my opinion, the customer should not need to worry about the cost-effectiveness or technology choices of transport. That is our job. We serve as an extension to the customer’s production, making the wood value chain as effortless, environmentally friendly and cost-effective as possible.”

This article was originally published in Timber Magazine issue 2022-2023.