25th November 2019
Tigercat and Latin Equipment tour Uruguay, gaining a better understanding of the market, its potential and the opportunities and challenges faced by local industry players.
– Gary Olsen, international sales manager southern hemisphere
In 2018, the forestry products sector in Uruguay surpassed beef production as the single largest contributor to the country’s exports by value at 24%. Thanks to a clear, commonsense forest policy introduced in the 1990s, Uruguay now has over 1,2 million hectares (2.9 million acres) of plantation forests. 80% is various Eucalyptus species and the rest a mix of Pine species. Products derived from the plantations include sawn lumber, pulp and export woodchips.
Although Tigercat – together with dealer Latin Equipment Uruguay (LEU) – have been present in the Uruguayan market for some time, sales have ratcheted upward over the last three years with the introduction of some excellent new sales and management staff at Latin Equipment. Add to this, major investments in service staff, equipment, training and spare parts as well as a new branch facility in the city of Tacuarembó.
Francisco Fros and the more recent addition of Gabriel Turturiello form a dynamic pair of sales and management staff. The result of their effort has been a tripling of the Tigercat machine population, now fast approaching 100 units. A planned mill expansion by the UPM-Kymmene has recently been approved and so this forest industry remains on a path of continued growth.
A team from Tigercat and LEU embarked on a country-wide customer site visit program to see both old and new machines in operation. The goal was to learn more about the challenges facing Uruguayan forestry companies and contractors and to understand how Tigercat can offer possible solutions in the future. Customer appreciation dinners were held in the town of Rivera which borders Brazil to the north, as well as at the Latin Equipment branch in Tacuarembó.
Moving around this relatively small country is by road only, and to say that Uruguay’s terrain is generally flat would be the understatement of the century. The highest peak in Uruguay, Cerro Catedral, towers over the country at 513,66 m (1,690 ft) above sea level, while 90 percent of the country sits between zero and 200 m (650 ft) above sea level. Uruguay has just about no indigenous forestland. The grasslands are only ever interrupted by either eucalyptus and pine plantations or other exotic species introduced over the centuries. This endless flatness and hours of driving give the impression that Uruguay is, in fact, a huge country.
The first Tigercat 2000 series bunching shear was recently introduced into the country, now digesting a steady diet of Eucalyptus pulpwood trees. Contractor Gustavo Hernandez (FAMANEX S.A.) is also considering installing a Tigercat designed and factory-supplied herbicide application system to this machine once it is available in 2020. This will allow him to apply herbicide to the remaining stump at the time of felling, to kill the stump and prevent unwanted coppicing, since new genetic material will replace the current rotation.
After viewing the operation, we pressed on a few hours further to the Latin Equipment branch in Tacuarembó before heading to the border town of Rivera where two customer appreciation dinners took place on two successive evenings. The events were extremely well attended with some customers travelling all the way from the capital city, Montevideo, some 500 km away.
Many of the dinner guests joined the site visit at the operations of Sergio Padila, Verde Claro S.A. The visit took on the look of a demonstration day rather than a simple operational visit and so the Tigercat and Latin Equipment teams interacted with the wider group. A fleet of Tigercat machines were on show, harvesting pine saw logs. The 845D feller buncher with a 5702 saw, handled the cutting. A 635D six-wheel skidder and a brand new 632E skidder performed extraction to roadside, where a Tigercat H250D with a processing head processed and sorted the logs for loading.
Not all customers are in a position to purchase a brand new Tigercat but as Javier Arquero will tell you, if you can lay your hands on a decent used Tigercat H845C harvester and a 1075B forwarder, then you have a business. Delruba S.A. is using the CTL system in a large eucalyptus saw log clear-felling operation. The name O’Brian is synonymous with forestry in Uruguay and their company, Timberfor has featured as a Tigercat customer since Tigercat first entered the Uruguay market. Also working with large eucalyptus saw logs, the O’Brians make use of a Tigercat 720E drive-to-tree feller buncher equipped with a 5702 saw, followed by an H845D which debarks and crosscuts infield.
The final site visit involved another iconic name in the Uruguayan industry – Dalfey (profiled in BTB, March 2014, Hot and Heavy). Owner Luis Achugar is celebrating the company’s tenth anniversary in the logging business. Operating on COFUSA property, Luis – who has been a Tigercat customer since his first year of operation – works closely with COFUSA management to introduce cost-effective and safe logging solutions. Dalfey for the past several years has been using a Tigercat 855C with a 5702 felling saw. In an attempt to reduce damage to the massive 4,5 tonne trees during felling, Tigercat has recently introduced its 5185 fixed felling saw onto an 855E base carrier. So far, so good, with the amount of damage to the butts and crowns significantly reduced on account of the bar saw and the increased control of the 5185.
Luis debarks and crosscuts infield with a Tigercat H855D carrier and uses a fleet of Tigercat 1065, 1075B and 1075C forwarders for extraction to roadside. He has an old 220D truck-mounted loader he still uses to load trucks with but since the introduction of the Tigercat F195T85 crane on 1075C, he has been able to load the trucks with the forwarder, taking pressure off of the old 220D. After a very full and successful program, everyone looked forward to the ten million kilometre drive back to Montevideo – but only after we caught sight of what can literally be termed a Uruguayan highlight!
Interested in reading more about Tigercat machines in Uruguay? Read more from our archives: BTB 36: Hot and Heavy, March 2014. Find the link below under Related Articles.