Transport / Fleet Management & Finance - Cape Business News - Cape Business News Mon, 20 Nov 2017 07:32:36 +0200 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Captains of Industry - “Together we move South Africa forward” Cargo Carriers

Cargo Carriers helps develop a world-class South African transport industry.

Cargo Carriers joins South Africans in recognising the important role that the larger transport industry has to play in growing the country’s economy and, in so doing, helping to address unemployment and inequality.

 These imperatives are aptly encapsulated in this year’s Transport Month theme, namely “together we move South Africa forward”.

Importantly, it also emphasises the need to establish robust partnerships between the private and public sectors to develop a world-class transportation, logistics and supply-chain industry in the country.

This has been a recurring message since Transport Month was first launched by the Department of Transport in 2005 during the Transport Lekgotla.

The importance of greater private- and public-sector collaboration is also highlighted in the National Development Plan, which prioritises large investments into port, rail and road infrastructure to significantly boost South Africa’s global competitiveness.

Cargo Carriers continues to demonstrate its commitment to promoting excellence in the industry, setting the standard by which the quality of transportation, logistics and supply-chain services is measured.

This is the outcome of more than 60 years of ongoing innovation, and the company’s many awards and accolades bears testament to the success of this significant investment into research and development.

Some of these include the Gold Logistics Achiever Award for supply-chain innovation in the clothing industry and for effective application of strategic, tactical and operational logistics and supply chain principles. The company also secured a Gold and Silver Logistics Achiever Award for Supply Chain Innovation and Optimisation.

The outcome of this research and development programme includes patented trailers designed for specialist haulage operations that have reduced fuel burn and lowered the overall carbon footprint of the large transport and logistics component of business.

Meanwhile, intelligent telematics have streamlined fleet management and improved flexibility on contracts, and the power of the Internet of Things is also being harnessed to bolster supply-chain efficiencies in this digital era.

This calculated and strategic approach has ensured that Cargo Carriers remains the first point of contact for an integrated transport logistics solution for participants operating in a myriad of specialist industries.

This is exactly what company founder, Des Bolton, set out to achieve when he started hauling with his first truck, “Old Faithful”, in 1956.

Young, ambitious and determined, Bolton’s entrepreneurial flair, combined with his integrity and pursuit for perfection, were already key differentiators in those very early years, and laid solid foundations for growth.

Bolton’s first milestone was opening a Swaziland branch three years later, paving the way forward for other important developments, including strategic acquisitions and diversification into new industries.

Cargo Carriers is still closely associated with the demanding transport and logistics requirements for the fuel, dry-bulk powders, steel, chemicals and sugar industries, while operating throughout South Africa and as far afield as Zambia.

The 1960s, 1970s and 1980s were also characterised by expansion into new geographical territories and digital breakthroughs.

Certainly, a major highlight was the company’s listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1987.

Cargo Carriers has since retained its listing and recorded yet another milestone when it celebrated 30 years as a JSE-listed company in 2017.

While a listed company, Bolton’s key traits and values are still very much engrained in the company’s DNA.

They are evident in Cargo Carriers’ unrelenting commitment to the highest standards of corporate governance and ethics, as well as its strict adherence to internationally-recognised standards of quality and environmental stewardship.

In addition, the company is acknowledged by several industry regulatory accreditation bodies, including DEKRA, a global custodian of safety and quality standards for companies specialising in technology, environment and mobility.

The company is also a signatory to the Responsible Care programme of the Chemical Allied Industry Association, which promotes the safe handling and transportation of hazardous substances.

These initiatives are also in line with government’s own drive to significantly improve safety levels in the local transport industry.

Cargo Carriers applauds the Department of Transport for its unwavering commitment to this important aspect of the industry, and for again using Transport Month as an important forum to raise awareness of road safety.

These are in line with the “Cargo Way” which, in addition to championing strong values and work ethics, places immense credence on health and safety.

This culture spans the boardroom and various branches and is also evident in the behaviour of the many drivers tasked with safely hauling product and materials, including hazardous substances, for industrial clients.

High health and safety standards are ensured by bi-annual internal OHSAS 18001 compliance checks, as well as annual external 0HSAS 18001 and bi-annual SQAS assessments.

They are augmented by regular Road Safety Management System Compliance audits conducted by clients, as well as annual health inspections of drivers to ensure they are fit to perform their duties safely.

In addition to being a large employer, Cargo Carriers continues to invest heavily into skills development and employee-training programmes.

These initiatives are complemented by employee-share ownership programmes, such as Ikamvalethu and WomenCo.

Ikamvalethu has ensured employees enjoy meaningful participation in the economy, while creating a culture of ownership by allowing them to share in the future success of the business.

In a further development, WomenCo was launched earlier this year by the board of Ezethu Logistics, a subsidiary of Cargo Carriers, to bolster initiatives geared at transformation.

This new investment vehicle affords eligible woman employees of both the parent company and its subsidiary the opportunity to acquire a majority share in Ezethu Logistics.

Both initiatives complement Cargo Carriers’ dedication to transformation, demonstrated by its own robust Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) credentials.

Importantly, the company also won a Logistics Achiever Platinum Award for a B-BBEE programme in the sugar industry, and looks forward to driving meaningful change in the South African transport and logistics industry to address past inequalities.

Cargo Carriers lauds the Department of Transport for yet another successful Transport Month, and the commitment policymakers have demonstrated in mobilising all stakeholders in developing the country’s economy!


]]> (Super User) Transport / Fleet Management & Finance Tue, 24 Oct 2017 19:58:25 +0200
FC Porto enjoys the comfort on a double-decker NEOPLAN Skyliner - []

The MAN Bus Modification Center has fitted out the new team bus for the FCPorto soccer team. In the NEOPLAN Skyliner, the talented players and team can not only travel to their matches in comfort, but also relax before and after the matches.

  • The MAN Bus Modification Center (BMC) converts a NEOPLAN Skyliner into a luxurious bus with individual seats for the players of FC Porto and technical team
  • The new team bus is in operation from the start of the soccer season 2017/2018
  • Travelling safely and comfortably thanks to the powerful 370 kW engine with automatic gearbox and state of the art assistance systems From the outside, the double-decker bus looks just like a perfectly normal NEOPLAN Skyliner, with the exception of the LED lighting around the edges.

Appearances can be deceiving, as you discover when you step inside the latest addition to FC Porto team main team technical team: on the lower deck, a state of the art kitchen provides a pleasant cosiness during the journey, while the galley and its ceramic hob as well as a fridge freezer offer the very best catering facilities.

The do-a-dos tables allow comfortable meetings for the coaches, technical staff and players.

The special features on the upper deck are even more obvious: anyone who climbs the stairs of the doubledecker bus will find themselves amongst top of the range individual seats mounted on each side for the players, allowing up to 20 players to rest comfortably with plenty of space.

The integrated hi-fi equipment and multimedia system with various monitors create the appropriate atmosphere on board. It goes without saying that power sockets next to the all seats are indispensable, as are refrigerators on the upper and lower decks.

A dual-zone rear air conditioning system that can regulate the upper and lower decks individually, a convector heater and two step unit heaters all maintain the perfect climate while on the road.

Once at the matches, this task is assumed by a stationary air conditioning system with an electric air conditioning compressor in the luggage compartment. To ensure the highest safety on the road while travelling, the bus is equipped with the latest and state of the art assistance systems, including emergency braking assistance (EBA), adaptive cruise control (ACC) and a lane guard system (LGS), not to mention the electronically controlled shock absorbers of the MAN ComfortDriveSuspension (CDS).

These all make sure that this very special doubledecker is perfectly equipped for its tours throughout Europe. Together with all this equipment to ensure a fast and smooth traveling the bus depends on a powerful and environmental friendly engine that complies with the latest law requirements of Euro 6.

The 6 cylinder Common-Rail Diesel Engine with 12.5 litres and 370 kW, ensures that any road is easily travelled, together with the engine there is an automatic gearbox with topographic cruise control to make the work of the driver also relaxing.

]]> (Super User) Transport / Fleet Management & Finance Thu, 28 Sep 2017 19:45:17 +0200
New SKF hub bearing unit seal halves friction SKF hub bearing

SKF has introduced a newly developed inboard seal for hub bearing units that leads to a 50 per cent cut in friction when compared with other competing seals – the lowest level witnessed yet in an SKF seal of this kind.

Specifically designed for the application, the innovative technology combines outstanding sealing capabilities over a long service life in even the most challenging environments with the power to boost overall vehicle efficiency and a substantial drop in CO2 emissions.

The robust cassette seal accommodates current ABS encoders and features an external lip and an optimised labyrinth design that collects and redirects contamination flow away from a main radial lip.

This radial lip, along with low friction grease, ensures even interference and contact pressure distribution, as well as protection in static conditions. With just one lip in contact, the configuration ensures minimum friction and maximum protection that does not degrade over time.

Indeed, the level of sealing performance exceeds customers’ requirements, such as those specified by major automotive firms. Ronnie Spolidoro, Business Development Manager SKF Sealing Solution, said, “With this sophisticated, yet robust design we have been able to realise the lowest level of friction ever achieved in an SKF hub bearing unit seal, typically a 0.1 Nm contribution to bearing friction under load. This outstanding reduction in friction along with the superior sealing performance in contaminated environments that comes with this product is going to play a significant role in helping manufacturers to create ultra-reliable vehicles that emit far less CO2 than models using conventional seals.”

]]> (Super User) Transport / Fleet Management & Finance Sun, 24 Sep 2017 20:15:00 +0200
A resolute commitment to SHEQ keeps fuels and chemical deliveries in the safe lane Cargo Carriers - []
  • Renewed and expanded contracts in the fuel and chemicals sector.

Despite an extremely challenging economic climate, many South African companies are taking a longer-term outlook to business by only partnering reputable providers of specialist supply chain and transport logistics services.

In so doing, these discerning businesses have harnessed expert skills and capabilities that provide them with the key differentiators they need to survive in increasingly competitive markets and onerous operating conditions.

Not only do these companies rely on the highest quality of supply chain and transport logistics services, but also expect their logistics suppliers to continuously innovate to pro-actively respond to changing market dynamics.

Importantly, this capability needs to be provided on the back of strict compliance with exacting health and safety, as well as environmental standards.

Certainly, Cargo Carriers long and close affiliation with South Africa’s steel, fuel, chemicals, powders and sugar industries bears testament to this unrelenting focus on Safety, Health, Environment and Quality, or “SHEQ”.

These are the basis upon which this leading logistics service provider has built a 60-year-long legacy of servicing these industries.

Non-negotiable and part of the company’s DNA make-up, they have also played a key role in Cargo Carriers’ ability to retain its contracts with specific operators in these specialist markets for almost 40 years.

More recently, two of the company’s contracts were renewed by long-standing clients operating in both the local fuel and chemical industries.

Cargo Carriers’ ability to meet and even exceed the high expectations of industry played an important role in the renewal of its contract to transport raw-tar product, or “black fuel”, a classified hazardous product, for another important client in this industrial market segment.   

The company provided cutting-edge supply chain and transport and logistics services to this client for almost eight years, before its contract was significantly extended.

Certainly, Cargo Carriers’ leading position in the larger fuel industry is characterised by its load-and-route optimisation, enhanced load security and delivery visibility capabilities.  

In addition, the company’s sophisticated technologies, including the latest vehicle and trailer configurations, have helped reduce emissions in the large transport component of the industry’s value chain. This is in line with the growing “green” consciousness that has placed significant onus on businesses, especially fossil-fuel based sectors, to reduce their carbon footprints.

Importantly, these technologies have also contributed towards increased payload and reduced fuel burn, helping players in this increasingly competitive industry contain logistics costs and, therefore, improve efficiencies.

These capabilities are augmented by improved turnaround times on last mile distribution operations, preloading vehicles and offloading procedures, as well as ensuring close to 100% vehicle availability due to a sound preventative and structured maintenance regime.

Meanwhile, an unwavering focus on SHEQ has also been the backbone of Cargo Carriers’ efficient and safe delivery of flocculants, acids, fertilisers and heavy oils. It is also the preferred transporter of oxygen, nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide for one of South Africa’s largest gas and welding products suppliers.

Certainly, the renewal of another contract with a long-standing client in the chemicals industry further reflects Cargo Carriers’ reputable standing in the larger local chemicals industry.

This development will see the company continue to build on its two decade-long partnership with this client, for which it delivers hazardous product in an intricate round-the-clock operation – seven days per week, 24 hours per day – using specially designed stainless steel tankers.

The gravitas Cargo Carriers places on maintaining its high SHEQ standards is further motivated by the extensive audits it undergoes by the local and German-based DEKRA-ITS certification services.

This complements the company’s ISO 9001:2015; ISO 14001:2015 and OHSAS 18001:2007 accreditation and affiliation to the Chemical and Allied Industries (CAIA).

Cargo Carriers’ Sasolburg branch has been rated as an “accredited haulier” meeting CAIA’s stringent criteria. The Sasolburg operation is one of the branches from which the company co-ordinates deliveries throughout South Africa and as far afield as Zambia and Malawi.

Importantly, the company is also a signatory to Safety and Quality Assessment (SQAS) and Responsible Care.

Like its counterparts in the fuel industry, participants in the chemical sector have also relied upon Cargo Carriers’ flexibility to changing markets and circumstances. This includes unexpected seasonal changes, which had a profound negative impact on some markets for chemical products. Specifically, the agricultural industry, a large consumer of liquid fertiliser, was severely impacted by the extended drought and mines adversely affected by continuous wet weather in some regions of South Africa that brought operations to a grinding halt.

Combined with high ethical values and robust Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment credentials, Cargo Carriers looks forward to continuing its long journey facilitating South Africa’s industrialisation in line with the imperatives enshrined in the National Development Plan!

]]> (Super User) Transport / Fleet Management & Finance Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:52:49 +0200
Africa’s transport leaders drive free trade agenda The Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s Minister of Transport

National development across Africa continues to support the commitment undertaken by the 54 members of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2016 to create a continent-wide free trade area.  At the helm of this initiative is Africa’s transport sector, taking continuous strides to unlock cross-border opportunities for intra-African trade and development.

There is a much to be gained from a free trade area for Africa, as intra-African trade is the lowest of any region in the world at a mere 10%.  A properly executed free trade area could change the status quo and transform Africa. As projects and initiatives in support of transport infrastructure development to boost intra-African trade continue to crop up across the continent, Africa’s transport leaders take action to demonstrate their vision of modernised transport and free trade for the region.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria has most recently reaffirmed its commitment to intra-African trade and development with the confirmation of The Honourable Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s Minister of Transport, to join the strategic round table discussions that will be held during the 6th annual African Ports Evolution Forum in Durban, South Africa this October.  The Honourable Amaechi’s presence in Durban this October alongside Kenya’s Principal Secretary of Maritime and Shipping, Nancy Karigithu and South Africa’s Minister of Transport, The Honourable Joe Maswanganyi will catalyse the ensuing strategic pan-African discussions for cathartic expansion and modernisation of ports, corridors and multi-modal connectivity.

The African Ports Evolution Forum, now in its 6th year, is an annual initiative created in response to Africa’s transport infrastructure gap.  The initiative unites ports authorities, Ministries of Transport, terminal operators and rail operators to support the scale of development currently underway across the continent.  Not only will Ministries of Transport from Nigeria to Kenya to South Africa be in attendance but also myriad ports authorities from Namport to Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority will be there to boost intra-African collaboration and prepare for post-neo-panamax shipping requirements as the 4th industrial revolution sweeps the globe and Africa’s profile as a global trade partner gains momentum.  African Ports Evolution is strategically located with the 2nd annual African Rail Evolution Forum and Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal’s Export Week initiative to provide comprehensive access to strategic development for both coastal and hinterland trade.

Supported by the Ports Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA) and hosted by eThekwini Municipality, the forum garners support from more than 100 sponsors and exhibitors and 80 media and association partners to form one of Africa’s leading transport initiatives.  Port and corridor expansion is not only creating new business opportunities for port city development across the sub-Saharan region but also opening up new access to hinterland areas and strategic trade corridors. “African Ports Evolution Forum unpacks best practices for sustainable port development and expansion with emphasis on the latest technologies available to drive sustainable construction, interoperability of systems, port efficiency and optimisation,” says Carly Pols, International Business Director at Hypenica Pty Ltd.

]]> (Super User) Transport / Fleet Management & Finance Mon, 11 Sep 2017 11:19:22 +0200
New Transnet, DBSA finance scheme set up to support African rail exports Transnet chief officer in advanced manufacturing Thamsanqa Jiyane - []

State-owned entities Transnet and the Development Bank of Southern Africa(DBSA) have agreed to create a new facility that will extend favourable financing to African and Middle Eastern buyers of TransnetEngineering’s (TE’s) rail rolling stock and portequipment.

The financing scheme will be branded under the Transnet Finance Company banner, but will be operated by the DBSA, backed by a consortium of commercial banks, along the lines of financing companies that operate under the branding of automotive companies.

Transnet chief officer in advanced manufacturingThamsanqa Jiyane tells Engineering News Online that the venture is designed to improve TE’s competitiveness as an exporter of locomotives, passenger coaches, freightwagons, as well as port-handling equipment, such as rubber tyre gantry cranes.

He says TE has received enquiries worth more than R15-billion in recent months, but has struggled to compete with Chinese and North American supplies in particular, which are able to couple their offerings to preferential interest rates, or soft finance extended through the host country’s export-import bank.

The arrangement with DBSA is said to be in line with a government-endorsed strategy for TE to increase third-party sales as part of its mandate to become an African Original-Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).

The DBSA tells Engineering News Online that it does not disclose details about any client’s facilities. However, the development financier stresses that it supports ventures that focus on large-scale infrastructure investment in its selected sectors.

"It is through infrastructure investment that the DBSA seeks to advance its development impact, support economic growth and ultimately improve the quality of life of people."

The Department of Public Enterprises tells EngineeringNews Online that the OEM mandate is also aligned with a resolution taken at the 2015 Heads of State and Government Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa, earmarking South Africa as Africa’s “champion” in the manufacture and supply of rail stock.

“Cabinet directed Transnet to consider the markets... in light of rolling stock capability and skills that South Africa is not fully venturing,” the department said in a written response to questions.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is also supportive, stating that, in the African context, building and maintaining a globally competitive rail manufacturing and after-sales service and refurbishment capability in South Africa “is critical to the industrial effort”.

However, the DTI is also alive to criticism that developing TE into an OEM could crowd out the private sector. “The DTI recognises that this is a critical and debatable policy question for which there are no easy answers,” the department told Engineering News Online.

“The DTI perspective is that a robust railway supplier development programme and supply chain must be created and sustained over a long period of time and this can be achieved if companies with varying levels of capability and competency are supported, including with respect to support for clusters and production hubs.”

Jiyane stresses that Transnet’s engineering capabilities have been built over nearly a century of railway operations and that the OEM strategy is viewed as the logical next step for a business initially created to maintain freight and passenger rolling stock.

He says it currently has the capacity to design and build freight wagons and passenger coaches and recently unveiled the TransAfrica Locomotive, which has been specially designed to meet the needs of African shunting operations.

In addition, companies such as GE have already used its Koedoespoort facilities as an assembly hub not only to supply diesel locomotives to Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), but also to other African customers.

“I should also point out that many of the components used in these solutions are being sourced from private domestic firms.”

However, Jiyane says the OEM strategy will only really gain traction if it is wrapped within a financing package that is competitive with what is available to African and Middle Eastern clients from other OEMs.

TE’s current revenue is dominated by orders from TFR, with its facilities in Koedoespoort and Durban producing dieseland electric locomotives to fulfill the R50-billion-plus ‘10-64 contract’ for 599 electric and 465 diesel locomotives. In fact, third-party orders currently comprise only about 25% of the R10-billion revenue.

By 2021, however, TE is budgeting to increase its order book to over R21-billion and to raise third-party orders to 40%.

Jiyane expects the first Transnet Finance Companytransaction to be finalised during the group’s 2018 financialyear and does not discount its involvement in deals currently being negotiated in Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Transnet forms part of a GE-led consortium that has been named as the preferred bidder for a $2-billion rail concession in Nigeria and is also involved in a $400-million venture to recapitalise the National Railways of Zimbabwe.

“We believe the deal we are doing with DBSA will provide us with a far more attractive offering as we seek to sell South African-made rolling stock to clients in the rest of Africa,” Jiyane concludes.





]]> (Super User) Transport / Fleet Management & Finance Wed, 30 Aug 2017 21:34:46 +0200
South African Airways has been on life support for far too long South African Airways - []

South African Airways has been on life support for far too long and it’s time to pull the plug, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“SAA is an essentially commercial operation and, as such, I do not believe it is entitled to regular financial transfusions from South African tax payers,” said Ms Janine Myburgh, President of the Chamber.

“If it stopped operating tomorrow it would not be missed. Other airlines would simply step in to fill the gap and we would no longer have to pay billions of rands every year to keep it going. It is wasteful spending.”

She pointed out that Telkom, which did provide an essential service, had been successfully privatised and was now a taxpayer rather than a drain on precious state resources. had proved that it was able to make a profit and pay taxes in the market where SAA was failing.

“The country would be better off with additional private airlines that provided good services and paid taxes. SAA has been given every possible opportunity to sort itself out and it has failed every time. “It is like a terminally ill patient who has been on life support for years and now the time has come to pull the plug,” Ms Myburgh said.

Instead it had been given another R2.3 billion bail-out even though there was no credible turn-around plan in place. “How can we possibly expect our credit rating to recover from junk status while the government keeps bailing out a bankrupt airline? The message that this sends to the rating agencies is that we have an irrational government,” Ms Myburgh said.

]]> (Super User) Transport / Fleet Management & Finance Wed, 05 Jul 2017 21:41:11 +0200
Turn your fleet into an advertising asset Turn your fleet into an advertising asset

Branded vehicles are seen by 3 000 potential customers every hour they are on the road. Fleet vehicle advertising boosts name recognition 15 times more than any other form of advertising, and truck advertising has been rated as the second most effective form of outdoor media (AMPS 2010). With statistics like these it is worthwhile considering using your fleet as an advertising platform.

“The return on investment for fleet branding is substantial and is one of the highest for any media platform,” says Murray Price, managing director of Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics, which has been advising clients to reduce the TCO (total cost of ownership) of their fleets by using their vehicles for mobile advertising.

“Companies tend to think of only branding trucks, but branding company sedans is equally as effective and should be included in the marketing mix.”

Advantages of fleet branding include:

High visibility – depending on the size of your fleet, your branded vehicles will be seen by thousands of potential customers on a daily basis. Your advertisements will travel into the view of the customer instead of waiting for the customer to see them on television, in newspapers or on radio. The lead possibilities from mobile exposure are nearly endless. In fact, many businesses gain more contacts and customers from vehicles wraps than from their websites. Additionally it is consistent road users who are most likely to see the advertisements. These people tend to be employed and therefore have a higher income. They are probably in your market.

Local advertising - vehicle wrap advertising is targeted because a company is likely to be advertising to its local market. The people who will see the vehicle wrap will be the people in the area who will frequently perceive the vehicles to be delivering goods or services to neighbours, and therefore assume the products are being used and enjoyed in the neighbourhood. This generates positive feelings towards a brand.

Increased Security - Custom graphics reduce the risk of hijacking and theft. The graphics make the vehicle easily identifiable and therefore reduces the risk of theft. Factors to consider before deciding on fleet branding include cost and installation time (it can take upwards of a day to apply a vehicle wrap on a truck), inventory management and resale value.

“Fleet costs remain an important element,” says Price.

“Optimising vehicle inventory is a critical task of any fleet, but even more so when vehicles are branded. It is important for fleet operators to anticipate fluctuating volume needs to avoid incurring a surplus.”

“Fleet managers should also ensure that branding the vehicles does not alter budgeted resale value by ensuring the material used for branding can be removed without damaging the vehicle body. Most branding materials used today conform to this standard.”

Branding can be as simple as a company logo or as elaborate as a full colour wrap. The object is to get the message across quickly and clearly as the “advertisement” is a moving object and most often, the viewer will not have a lot of time to read it.

An eye-catching yet simple design will make the best impression, with copy kept to a minimum – in addition to the company name, website address and telephone number, a short tagline can be a memorable addition that will differentiate a company from its competitors.

“Fleet branding is a cost-effective method of advertising and gives added value to a fleet,” concludes Price.

“However, driver behaviour plays an important role – bad driving can send a negative message to your target markets, communities and other drivers. Controlling driver behaviour not only improves company/product image, but also reduces vehicle operating costs and remains a critical element of any fleet operation.”

]]> (Super User) Transport / Fleet Management & Finance Thu, 25 May 2017 22:56:39 +0200
Shining more light: artificial daylight in the cab has measurable benefits for truck drivers Shining more light: artificial daylight in the cab has measurable benefits for truck drivers
  • Team of researchers at Daimler AG examines the effects of additional light on the mental state and performance of truck drivers in a series of "Daylight+" experiments
  • Road trials and numerous tests were conducted in the Arctic Circle's winter darkness
  • Firm conclusions based on scientific criteria about the influence of the biological effect of light on working conditions
  • A tough job for eight Daimler test drivers: two weeks of driving through the polar night in wintry road conditions

Light gives structure to life

Light is one of those things that most people don't give a great deal of thought to - provided that they aren't suffering from a lack of light themselves. And yet light dictates how life on Earth is organised. Among other factors, the shift from day to night and back again provides structure as a short-term time cycle, as do the changing seasons. Evolution means that a number of internal clocks have adapted to these circumstances and these help to synchronise our circadian rhythms.

For many years, scientists have been researching the complex relationships between the availability of biologically effective light and the physical and mental states of human beings.

Various related health problems have been defined. One of the most common is seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A lack of light is a serious problem for many people in the countries of Northern Europe, for example, where it barely gets light during the winter months and this can result in poor mood, reduced performance and a lack of motivation. Light therapy is a standard method of treating these symptoms medically and of successfully combating them.

Drivers were compared only against themselves

The idea for Daylight+ arose during the course of a series of experiments at the sleep lab at the University of Regensburg. Daimler researcher Siegfried Rothe is involved in numerous projects to help improve working and living conditions for truck drivers and therefore to improve the image of this occupation. He subsequently determined that, due primarily to the outline shape of a conventional truck cab, only a comparatively low percentage of natural daylight reaches the driver's light receptors. This finding prompted Rothe to think about potential solutions.

The results of an initial series of experiments with engineers from the test drive department were unambiguous. The subjective condition of all test subjects improved significantly under the influence of an additional dose of light, regardless of the time of day. Another finding proved surprising: the test drivers with more daylight in the cab drove more economically.

During the experiments in Rovaniemi, the test subjects were only ever compared against themselves. That is, the experiments examined how a driver's performance changes when they are exposed to additional biologically effective daylight under clearly defined conditions. The extra dose took three forms involving different intensities:

  • Steady light while driving, whereby the intensity was adjusted to the exterior light level.
  • An intense light shower of maximum intensity during the tests before and after driving.
  • Light while reclined, likewise of maximum intensity, during breaks while the driver relaxes in their seat, which has been positioned for a power nap.

During the night, the test subjects slept in a normally darkened truck. For the test drivers, these experiments in the Arctic Circle were a tough test of their capabilities. The team documented the test results with support from co-researcher Dr Michael Schrauf and the use of electroencephalography (EEG), electrocardiography (ECG) and electrooculography (EOG) and other physiological measurements, as well as saliva samples (to ascertain levels of the sleep hormone melatonin).

Mental state and professional performance, which are closely related, were examined using standardised psychological test procedures (sustained attention and reaction tests on the computer) and by recording vehicle data through the FleetBoard telematics system.

At the end of the two-week cycles, the individual drivers were interviewed, having previously recorded their subjective impressions. Richard Schneider and Philippe Strasser, two truck test drivers for Daimler, spent time in the Arctic Circle at the darkest time of the year, just before the winter solstice. Both of them expressed enthusiasm for Daylight+ separately. Feedback from the truck test drivers also provided a new insight for Siegfried Rothe. The drivers consistently reported that they perceived the space inside the cab to be considerably more pleasant with the additional light fitting.

"When designing the series of tests, we hadn't even considered that the space might appear larger," admitted the head of the experiment. Rothe estimates that it will take several months to sift and analyse the extensive data from the series of experiments conducted in the Arctic Circle. "Only then we will be able to make a recommendation as to whether the test findings should advisably lead to changes in the design of cab lighting."

]]> (Super User) Transport / Fleet Management & Finance Thu, 25 May 2017 20:40:22 +0200
Serco displays specialised custom building skills The exterior view of the new 12,5m trailers that were built for PCubed (Pty) Ltd to be used to conduct learner driver license tests

Serco has once again proven its high quality custom building capability by producing two fully-equipped trailers for use as mobile learner driver license test centres.

The 12,5m-long trailers were built for PCubed (Pty) Ltd and are currently being used in Mpumalanga to conduct learner driver license tests. The vehicles have a main examination section comprising an examiners desk and 15 workstations where applicants sit their tests, while the back section houses a registration desk, the generator and a server room.

The 12kVA generator sits in a customised compartment while the 24000BTU air-conditioning unit cools the entire interior through Serco-designed ducting.   Solar panels and UPS back-up power supports critical apparatus in the event of a power failure.

Key features developed for PCubed include a semi-insulated generator chamber with ventilation, a customised wind deflector and air-conditioning condenser protection, LED lighting and chassis and body construction to accommodate sophisticated electrical equipment and ducting.

Each workstation has an electronic interface to the server and is linked via a mobile communications system to the PCubed Support Centre, which provides for touch screens with fingerprint ID verification.

The workstations are monitored by cameras and the examiner manages and monitors the entire test through a dedicated examiner workstation.

Commenting on the quality of the trailers and the general efficiency of Serco, Managing Director of PCubed, Mr Ismail Amod, said: “Serco has built four trailers for us since we started doing business with them in 2008. “The most recent build has surpassed our expectations and is truly world class. Serco’s new trailer facility and panel fabrication techniques have enhanced all aspects of the vehicle quality, making it possible for them to meet very demanding delivery deadlines.”

Captions:  The exterior view of the new 12,5m trailers that were built for PCubed (Pty) Ltd to be used to conduct learner driver license tests.

]]> (Super User) Transport / Fleet Management & Finance Tue, 21 Mar 2017 08:54:37 +0200