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U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Chip Transport

Transporting chips requires a trailer that can safely carry chips without losing material and being loaded and unloaded. Open top trailers are used where chips will be loaded either by a chipper or grinder with a conveyor capable of pushing the chips over the top of the trailer, or by a loader capable of dumping loads of chips over the top of the trailer. Rear loading trailers have a rear door that contains an opening for the chute of a chipper to blow chips in through the rear. Open top trailers must have a tarp to cover the load when it is full. Chip trailers must usually have a door from which samples can be taken at the mill to check for moisture content. Chip trailers may be both open top and capable of being loaded from the rear.

Chip trailers may be standard box trailers or possum belly trailers.

Possum Belly Trailer
Figure 1. - Possum Belly Trailer.

A possum belly trailer has additional capacity added to the bottom of the trailer. This facilitates achieving closer to the full weight allowance of the load when chips are dry. The additional capacity can create issues when log roads have rolling dips or uneven surfaces that may be too high for the possum belly. The ground clearance is around 14-inches at the possum belly.

Standard chip trailer.
Figure 2. - Standard chip trailer.

Chip trailers are being manufactured that combine a chip trailer with a stinger steer configuration. This permits chip vans to access areas where the roads have sharp corners that do not permit the off-tracking of a standard fixed length chip trailer.

Roll-on/roll-off trucks have also been used to transport chips. This type of system utilizes bins designed to be loaded and unloaded utilizing a cable and winch or hooklift system. This system uses a straight truck configuration and may optionally pull a pup trailer with an additional bin. This system improves the turning radius compared to chip vans at the cost of decreased capacity. Multiple bins can be dropped at the landing for loading. By staging multiple bins, the chipper can continue loading bins while the truck is delivering a load.