Much of Toni Salo’s work is lonely, and in difficult situations, he must usually cope on his own. Toni’s workday begins around four or five in the morning. Slippery winter roads and dark forest roads make it even more challenging to drive a log truck.

“If you steer a 76-tonne vehicle into the ditch, you have quite a load to deal with,” says Toni in his straightforward manner.

The work is rewarding, as well. When you admire the sun rising behind the forest and have a cup of coffee before setting off to deliver a load to the mill, you know you’re on the right path.

Toni Salo knows what he is talking about. He has been in the transport business for nearly twenty years. It runs in his blood, as he continues to work in the company his great-grandfather established, starting with a single vehicle. Through the generations, the company has grown into one of 14 vehicles. Wood has always been one of the transported items.

“We transport a lot of other products, as well, but roundwood has always been part of the company’s operations.

Common rules and goal

To make the work of Toni Salo and thousands of other timber lorry drivers easy and safe, certain basics need to be taken care of. For it to be possible to handle a 25-metre combined vehicle, forest roads must be kept in shape. The highway junction should be at least five to six metres wide, and if it is free of traffic signs and power poles, all the better. The wood should be stored close to the road, but not in turning areas, and absolutely not under power lines. The piles should be neat to make loading easy. A slanted and wobbly wood pile is also a safety risk, since it can topple over the loader.

According to Juho Jokimies, Metsä Group’s operations supervisor, these and other safety-enhancing measures are taken seriously at Metsä. Toni agrees. If there has ever been a need to fix something, Metsä Group has always been attentive, and the parties have developed things jointly.

From time to time, the operations supervisor checks that the transport entrepreneur has taken the piles to the right place and that everything has been recorded properly. The final condition of the wood storage location is also inspected in this connection. Both men agree that a neat result and a properly completed job are important references that forest owners pay attention to.

“When everyone plays by the same rules and has the same goal, we will succeed,” Toni Salo states.

Forest close to the heart

In Toni Salo’s experience, Metsä Group is a good cooperation partner for entrepreneurs. Their cooperation has worked ideally and provided Salo with the opportunity to continuously improve the quality of his own company. There is not a better partner he could hope for.

“Of course there’s always room for improvement, but we’ve always talked things through in a good spirit and developed matters on both sides.”

In addition to an income, the forest provides the experienced transporter with food for the body and soul. He spends the autumns hunting, and can always easily shake off any worries by pulling on his hiking boots, throwing a rucksack on his back and heading out into the woods for a cup of coffee out in the open.

“That’s a good way for a man to recharge his batteries.”