Lars Norlings Åkeri AB Graninge, Sweden
“When we first thought about buying a HiVision crane, we weren’t really planning to invest right away. But from a safety and work-environment perspective, it felt like the right thing to do,”
- Emil Norling
An unexpected turn of events On the 21st of August 1995, Åsa Norling was driving a fully-loaded timber truck in the Sollefteå area, 500 kilometers north of Stockholm. Her heart stopped when she heard that there had been a serious car accident nearby.
It turned out that her husband, Lars Norling, had been hit by another car while driving their two children, Emil and Emma, to football practice. Åsa drove straight to the hospital, parked her truck outside, and ran in to find that both her children were safe, but that Lars had been seriously injured. The doctors informed her that he would be out of action for some time.
Once over the initial shock, Åsa considered her options. Although new to the business, she felt she had no choice but to take it over while Lars was recuperating. From that day and until the day of Lars full recovery, she became the main breadwinner and one of the region’s few female contractors.
Fast forward to 2019. Åsa is now officially retired and a grandmother but she’s still driving trucks and operating cranes. While her son Emilis busy at home raising the next generation of forestry experts, she’s out and operating the company’s most recent acquisition: a LOGLIFT 118S HiVision crane.
Otto and Holger Norling first established Brödrena Norlings Åkeri (later renamed Lars Norlings Åkeri), in 1937. That year, they bought their first truck and started to provide timber transport services. “As the business grew, they bought more and more trucks,” recalls Lars. “ They transported timber in the winter and gravel in the summer.”
The brothers always chose HIAB at first then JONSERED or LOGLIFT cranes. When a piece of equipment needed renewing, they went back to the same vendor. Lars explains, “We kept the cranes for a few years. When it was time for an upgrade, we always picked a new LOGLIFT or JONSERED. The equipment worked well and getting hold of spare parts. Was never a problem. Why look elsewhere when you have just what you need?”
In 1963, Brödrena Norlings Åkeri bought their first hydraulic timber crane, a HIAB forest Elephant 176. At the time it was state-of-the-art, but things have moved on since then. “These days, the cranes are in a whole new league. The HiVision crane is really something!” exclaims Lars.
In 1970 Lars took the business over from his father and uncle, and now it’s his son Emil’s turn. The role came as naturally to Emil as it had to Lars. Emil recalls how he took every opportunity to go out in the truck with his father as a young boy. “I would ride beside him for hours, just to be allowed to load timber for a minute or two. I always knew I would take over the business one day.”
Making a living in the timber transport business is harder than it used to be. Skilled drivers are hard to find, customers are more demanding and margins are shrinking. At the same time, legislation is increasingly stringent. In order to utilize the fleet to its full capacity, Emil runs two shifts per day. There’s no margin for error, so trucks have to be loaded as efficiently as possible. The equipment must be reliable and safe for operators. Our drivers have to know the forest roads really well, so they can get the right type of wood to the right place, on time.
“When we first thought about buying a HiVision crane, we weren’t really planning to invest right away. But from a safety and work-environment perspective, it felt like the right thing to do,” Emil tells us. Discovering he would soon become a father also influenced Emil’s decision. “I suddenly felt more concerned for my own safety. I have a different perspective now,” he says. “Working with HiVision makes the job safer.”
By coincidence, Emil’s co-driver Anton Holm discovered he was going to be a father at the same time, and now both Dads are on parental leave. Åsa has stepped in to lend a hand once again. While most grandmothers would have offered to babysit, Åsa wanted to make it possible for Emil to spend time at home with his daughter. So, she’sout driving cranes again… and loving every minute of it. “It’s exciting to operate a HiVision; I’m really enjoying learning to work with it,” she says.