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Maria Broberg

Heavy-duty sisters

Maja and Julia are the third generation of the Sjöberg family to work in the family business, which is part of Sorsele Frakt AB with a focus on heavy vehicles. Customers include forestry companies, the municipality and private individuals.

“Sorsele Frakt is well liked. The jobs we get we complete with good outcomes,” says Julia Sjöberg.

It’s January and snowing heavily. Julia follows the weather report since it determines her working hours as she’s responsible for ensuring that everyone else in Blattnicksele can get to school and work when they get up a few hours later.

In the winter, snow ploughing and gritting take up most of Julia’s working hours, which are difficult to schedule. It snows when it snows. When she sets off at 4.30 am, she ploughs until she’s done. In the towns, it’s not uncommon for people to have opinions on snow removal, but Julia feels that here the vast majority are positive and grateful when she comes and ploughs.

Julia on the left, Maja on the right

“I start with ICA and the school, so that people can get about. Then I continue through the village. Sometimes it takes two passes if it’s snowing heavily. Ploughing snow is fun, and the work is pretty varied. The days can be long, but when there’s a break in the snow, I’m free from work,” she says.

A family business

Her sister Maja Sjöberg has more of a fixed schedule. She drives a timber truck, and if she has a morning shift, she has an early start, 4 or 5 am.

“By that time, a colleague’s loaded the timber truck during their shift and then I drive it to a sawmill on the coast, in Umeå or Skellefteå. The truck I drive is for Norra Skog. When unloading, I get help from the staff at the sawmill,” she says.

Maja graduated from secondary school and the transport programme in 2022. It was during work experience that she developed a taste for driving timber trucks, which she’s been doing since last summer. Her colleagues include some of her old classmates.

“There were three girls and twenty boys in our class. Aside from us youngsters, there are a lot of middle-aged people working in the industry, mostly men. Hopefully, there’ll be more girls in the future,” she says.

Several hauliers who collaborate

Julia, who’s 26, has been driving a tractor for a little more than ten years. Both she and her sister find it a fun job. Their boss’s name is Niklas Sjöberg, and he’s their dad, and the founder of the haulage company Georg Sjöbergs Åkeri is the sisters’ grandfather. At present, there are six of them at the company.

“We’re part of the industry, we’ve grown up with it since we were young,” they say.

Their haulage company is one of the eleven that jointly own Sorsele Frakt, and together with seven of those companies, Georg Sjöbergs Åkeri transports combustible waste, machinery and asphalt. What’s more, Sorsele Frakt also owns four quarries.

“During the summer, we work a lot in teams transporting gravel, and it’s great. This can involve gravel roads in need of repair, for instance,” says Julia.

Give it a go

It’s a job with a great deal of independence, freedom with responsibility. Julia and Maja explain that they learn new things all the time. This could be new driving techniques or new software and systems at the sawmills.

“Sometimes, the tractor breaks down, then I call the boss who comes and helps me,” says Julia.

The one disadvantage both she and Maja can see with the job is that it can get a little lonely, but then they simply phone someone or listen to music, the radio or a podcast.

“You get used to it. On weekdays, you always eat alone, but we also have get-togethers with everyone who works at Sorsele Frakt. Staff parties,” they say.

What do you think you’ll be doing in five years?

“Hopefully the same as now. For anyone who’s interested in working in the industry, we think they should give it a go to see what they think. We need more people. What you need to get a job in the industry is a professional qualification, which you get when you’ve completed a course and taken a test, and a suitable driving licence.”

Last edited: 06 March 2024