Celebra­ting 40 years as a cont­rac­tor and ten years with Ponsse

With four mac­hine groups, Swe­dish fore­stry mac­hine cont­rac­tor Inge Gus­tafs­son, based in Gimo in north Uppland, is often enga­ged in a busi­ness cont­ract of some kind. Though he is well past the state reti­re­ment age, this has not stop­ped him from plan­ning new invest­ments. If he also has time to do some thin­ning, that is the icing on the cake for him.

Gus­tafs­son began his career as a fore­stry mac­hine cont­rac­tor already in1984, a few years after he star­ted as a fel­ler at Hargs Bruk in Uppland. His mac­hine cont­rac­ting began with a forwar­der but did not stop there. Soon, there were both a har­ves­ter and a forwar­der in the com­pany, plus tim­ber trucks.

The company’s rela­tions­hip with Ponsse star­ted when a cus­to­mer spent a great deal of time dri­ving in wet areas. Gus­tafs­son and anot­her mac­hine cont­rac­tor each inves­ted in a ten-whee­ler forwar­der from Ponsse. One yel­low and black mac­hine after anot­her then fol­lowed.

Inge Gus­tafs­son is approac­hing 70 but has no inten­tion of step­ping down as a cont­rac­tor. He is always thin­king about best ways to deve­lo­ped busi­ness furt­her.

Res­pec­ted family busi­ness

“We became more and more impres­sed with Ponsse. One impor­tant fac­tor was actually also the oppor­tu­nity to buy from a family busi­ness. With the manu­fac­tu­rer, we are met with a clo­se­ness, open­ness, and a tre­men­dous com­mit­ment in our rela­tions­hip – at all levels. This pro­vi­des a sense of secu­rity”, Gus­tafs­son feels.

There are now a num­ber of chan­ges in the pipe­line at Inge Gus­tafs­sons Skog­strans­port AB. Once these chan­ges have been imple­men­ted, the Ponsse fleet for con­ven­tio­nal rege­ne­ra­tion fel­ling will con­sist of PONSSE Bear and PONSSE Scor­pion Giant har­ves­ters, both with H8 har­ves­ter heads, plus high load-car­rying capacity PONSSE Mam­moth and PONSSE Elep­hant King forwar­ders.

“Our third mac­hine group for rege­ne­ra­tion fel­ling will be a special group for soft ground, whose har­ves­ter will be a newly purc­ha­sed Scor­pion King equip­ped with an H7 aggre­gate and specia­lity tracks. The special group’s forwar­der will be our 10-whee­ler PONSSE Buf­falo with rear sup­port axle. This is our second 10-whee­ler since 2014.”

A Scor­pion with an H6 har­ves­ter head forms a thin­ning group toget­her with a newly purc­ha­sed Elk forwar­der.

Gus­tafs­son thinks the Ponsse mac­hi­nes will pro­vide good oppor­tu­ni­ties to opti­mise the mac­hine groups in rela­tion to their tasks.

“Many forests are growing rapidly and it is always fun to return to areas you have been to before. It pro­vi­des an oppor­tu­nity to check the results of the work you did ear­lier”, says Gus­tafs­son.

Crea­ting for the future

 Even though rege­ne­ra­tion fel­ling has always domi­na­ted his work, Gus­tafs­son him­self enjoys thin­ning the most.

“If I am enga­ged in a lar­ger thin­ning job, I can easily lose track of time. Such crea­ti­vity is inc­re­dibly fun. It gives me the fee­ling of doing my bit for the future.”

The com­pany has 14 emplo­yees today. Toget­her, they form a really good gang, Gus­tafs­son insists.

“Eve­ryt­hing revol­ves around the mac­hine ope­ra­tors. Every task has its own pecu­lia­ri­ties and some of them demand somet­hing quite special. At such times, it is good to be able to tackle them with really good  ope­ra­tors and mac­hi­nes.”

After a year with the large PONSSE Mam­moth forwar­der, Ras­mus Kvar­ne­brink explains that the mac­hine com­bi­nes strength and capacity with flexi­bi­lity and surpri­singly low fuel con­sump­tion.

Three of the newest mac­hi­nes are the PONSSE Bear har­ves­ter and the PONSSE Mam­moth and PONSSE Elep­hant King forwar­ders, all of which the com­pany recei­ved in 2023.

“While the Mam­moth is a real mons­ter of a mac­hine, it hand­les really well, both mec­ha­nically and with the kind of ter­rain we drive on. We have found it to be smooth and with good fuel eco­nomy. Added to which, it is very well balanced with its long rear bogie.”

All the company’s mac­hi­nes are cove­red by a PONSSE Active Care Ser­vice Agree­ment.

“This makes life simpler for us and ensu­res that each ser­vice is done cor­rectly, and at the right time.”

Gus­tafs­son can never spend too much time in forests, and he is happy to stay there after the end of his wor­king day. Hun­ting is a big pas­sion, which he sha­res with his three dogs, two Swe­dish Elk­hounds and a dachs­hund. His part­ner Ann Berg­ström also runs her own busi­ness, a hairdres­sing salon. The family also inclu­des two children and two grandc­hildren.

The right balance

Had Gus­tafs­son not been seduced by forests, he would pro­bably have become a far­mer:

“I wor­ked in agricul­ture before I star­ted fel­ling and really liked it, but I have abso­lu­tely no regrets about the choice I made. Of course it has been tough at times, not least when nego­tia­ting prices, but gene­rally spea­king, they have been really good years.”

A cont­rac­tor enterprise with four mac­hine groups is a com­mit­ment and entails a great deal of admi­ni­stra­tion, but the busi­ness has been even big­ger at times.

“What we have now feels just right”, says Gus­tafs­son.