NEARLY half a million pounds has been given to a trial that will see state-of-the-art electric timber trucks used to transport wood in Scotland.

Scottish Forestry has stumped up £452,000 towards the three-year project, with James Jones and Sons and Scotlog Haulage running a wagon each in partnership with the Volvo Group and Cleaner EV. 

James Jones will trial a 40-tonne lorry from its Lockerbie sawmill to the nearby Hangingshaws national distribution centre, while a 44-tonne truck will move Scotlog timber between Inverness Harbour and West Fraser.

READ MORE: Battery-powered trucks to deliver timber across Scotland

Announcing the funding package, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Forestry is vital to helping Scotland achieve its net-zero target by 2045. 

"Around 7.6 million tonnes of harmful CO2 is taken out of the atmosphere from Scotland’s trees each year and the timber used in houses and other wooden products lock away carbon for its lifetime.

“The forestry sector is innovative and always using new technology to increase its business efficiencies. I welcome this new trial and look forward to hearing more about the findings as we drive closer to Net Zero.”

A key element of the three-year trial – called Net Zero Timhaul – is that all the partners involved are committed to sharing their experiences of running the electric lorries with others in the timber and rural haulage sectors.

Creel Maritime consultants will monitor the use of the lorries and arrange knowledge exchange opportunities over the course of the following three years.

Neil Stoddart, director of Creel Maritime, added: “In terms of road haulage, the timber industry is pretty advanced in looking for solutions to decarbonise. 

Forestry Journal:

"For example, we are reducing diesel lorry miles on many projects and opting for transport by sea. Additionally we are reviewing using an alternative fuelled barge to transport logs across a remote Loch in the Highlands.

READ MORE: Timber haulage: The road ahead for forestry transport

“This is a very exciting project but there are big challenges in running articulated lorries on electric power, mainly on cost grounds and infrastructure. This three-year trial will look into all these aspects and I’m keen to share as much detail on this with the industry.”

The two new Volvo electric timber vehicles are currently being manufactured in Gothenburg and are expected to be ready for use later this summer.