First Eltec harvester arrives in New Zealand
THE FIRST NEW CANADIAN-BUILT ELTEC harvester has arrived in New Zealand just as the original importer of the machines inks a joint-partnership deal to handle the distribution.
Whangarei logging contractor, Steven Stokes, set the ball rolling by grabbing the rights for Eltec in this market at the beginning of the year, but has now brought in Cambridgebased Shaw’s Wire Ropes as a 50:50 partner to distribute Eltec nationally.
The deal has also enabled him to widen the range of models offered in New Zealand to include loaders, as well as harvesters.
“The first machine has just gone into our crew in Woodhill Forest and it’s going great, but I realised that I needed a partner to help with distribution and Shaw’s have come on board to handle that side of the business,” says Steven.
Shaw’s Wire Ropes has an established distribution network and customer base throughout New Zealand and will build on this to provide full back-up and support for Eltec. It has also appointed Jonny Edwards to be the dedicated manager of the Eltec brand.
Steven says: “Part of the deal with Shaw’s coming on board was that Jonny should visit to look over the machine and operate it, as Shaw’s had made it very clear it only wanted to endorse a high quality product.
“So, with Jonny super-impressed with the smoothness, quality of build and performance of the machine, all the boxes were very quickly ticked.”
The Eltec brand comes out of the FrenchCanadian province of Quebec, being designed and built by a family-owned logging business.
Steven came across Eltec when researching equipment to replace machines in his crews that were getting up in hours and was impressed after he and his uncle, Murray, met the family during a trip to Quebec and experienced the Eltec machines first-hand.
Eltec produces a purpose built 40-tonne log loader/harvester, three sizes of feller buncher/ harvester ranging from the 27-tonne 220 (zeroswing) and more powerful 33-tonne 270 model, through to the 36-plus tonne 310 and a 40-tonne model called the 417 that was created on a 317 base with the New Zealand market in mind. It has a heavier high and wide undercarriage and other heavy-duty components, plus a purposebuilt cab, and is powered by a 330hp version of the Cummins QSL9 engine.
Eltec has also developed its own levelling system to enable harvesters to work on steeper slopes in greater comfort, which is available as an option on all models. Following the arrival of the first machine, Steven says seven others are due to arrive over the coming months and will include a large loader, along with a 277 model felling machine on a fixed base and another built onto the new levelling base, plus a 317 feller-buncher and several 417 harvesters (with a couple featuring SouthStar harvester heads factory-fitted by Eltec).
Steven ran his own engineering business before getting into logging nine years ago and has an insight into what is required to make the Eltec brand succeed here in New Zealand. Having experienced the first 417 in his own working environment, Steven says he’s even more enthusiastic about its potential here.
The first New Zealand Eltec 417 harvester at work with Stokes Logging in Woodhill Forest.