New technologies lead to more eco-friendly transports (in English)

Åke Nyblom Managing Director Ahola Transport


At Ahola Transport, 2023 will be remembered as a year of firsts. The first international cross-border electric truck transport and cross-border HCT transport with Europe’s first eTrailer, Finland’s first tyre inspection system and piloting of gas-powered trucks provided a welcome boost in a global climate fraught with uncertainties.


Inflation, rising interest rates and global crises forced us to adopt a cautious attitude towards the new year. The market situation looked highly uncertain and only short-term forecasts were made. Furthermore, a new EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) tax on heavy traffic fuels came into force for marine traffic. However, the situation turned around completely and the start of the year proved to be brisk. In Poland, the CEE market experienced significant growth of more than 50 per cent, which shows our ability to adapt to different situations and expand globally. The development of digitalisation is also an important area for Ahola Transport. We have improved the transparency and functionalities of customer and partner portals by increasing the number of key performance indicators (KPIs) and emissions reports.


New technologies


We carried out the first cross-border High Capacity Transport (HCT) to Sweden, which is a major step forward for the transport industry. The transport was carried out with an eTrailer-HCT combination with a 25 per cent higher loading capacity compared to other transport options and in addition an eTrailer, whose electric assist axle and battery pack that stores kinetic energy enable fuel savings of up to 10 per cent. Naturally, the more goods we can transport in one go, the more moderate the costs and environmental impacts of transports.


In connection to our closed water system truck wash in Naantali, we added Finland’s first GoodYear Checkpoint inspection system that measures the tyre tread depth, tyre pressure and axle loads, and provides alerts of any problems. The system identifies the vehicles used in the combination based on the registration number. In addition to safety, optimal tyre pressure and optimised weight of the load improve the durability of the vehicles in the long run.


Last year, we introduced our first gas trucks to test the suitability of new power source solutions for our operations. Reducing emissions and more eco-friendly fuel options are important to us. We talk about green kilometres, which means transports with alternative fuels such as HVO, electricity or gas. The work we do for the environment is proof of our commitment to sustainable transport solutions.


Focus on our drivers and the future


It is important for us to look after the well-being of our drivers. In 2021, we conducted a comprehensive market survey in which we studied how 16–24-year-olds see the transport industry and how we could increase its attractiveness. We also looked into our drivers’ needs in-house, based on which we made improvements to our drivers’ working conditions during the past year.


We built completely new staff facilities in the Trucker’s Village in Naantali, including automatic toilet and shower facilities. The pandemic probably taught all of us that surfaces stay more hygienic the less we touch them. The facilities also have a device that automatically disinfects surfaces after use. Furthermore, we introduced to the staff facilities an automated laundromat for doing laundry, as well as a reception point for in-house and external mail, and a campfire area. These improvements are designed to make daily life easier for drivers who sometimes spend several weeks away from home.


We also want to take care of our drivers’ mental well-being. That is why we appointed a so-called conversation partner for our drivers with whom they can carry out confidential conversations. This person is available for conversations in Naantali about once a month, but our drivers can contact them by phone at any time. The service has been well received and the experiences have been positive.


2023 Ended for Ahola Transport as a good earnings year and we succeeded in achieving slight growth in turnover. Investments in new more eco-friendly vehicles and technologies and continuous commitment to sustainable development, digitalisation and employee well-being have created a strong foundation for the company’s future.