One of South Africa’s key transport industry leaders, Kobus van Zyl, has resigned from Mercedes-Benz South Africa to pursue a new career with the company in Saudi Arabia.
He has been appointed general manager of National Automotive Industries, a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz Trucks and EA Juffali & Brothers. The Juffali Group is Mercedes-Benz’s appointed general distributor in Saudi Arabia. Van Zyl will be responsible there for Mercedes-Benz trucks, vans, buses and special trucks as well as for Western Star and Freightliner products.
He will be replaced in South Africa by Jasper Hafkamp, former managing director of Mercedes-Benz’s Netherlands truck division.
Arno van der Merwe, CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director: Manufacturing says: “We wish Kobus well in all his future endeavours. We are confident the Juffali Group is gaining a valuable team member and we look forward to welcoming Jasper to the management team at MBSA.”
Hafkamp’s appointment is effective from December 1.
HED: Vito wins top award
Mercedes-Benz’s Vito has won Germany’s Commercial Vehicle Prize for vehicles weighing less than three tons. The award was presented last month at the IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Hanover following judging by a 15-member jury of tradespeople, who took into consideration driving dynamics and economic efficiency among other factors.
“Tradespeople know precisely what’s important in a good van”, says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “That’s why we are especially delighted that an expert judging panel has chosen to honour the Mercedes-Benz Vito.”
HED: Making SA’s roads safe
South Africa’s Road Transport Management System (RTMS) has confirmed that the number of heavy vehicles that carry RTMS certification has passed the 10 000 mark. The increase demonstrates the commitment of road transport operators to implement standards that comply with the country’s road traffic regulations with aim of improving road safety, preserving road infrastructure and increasing productivity.
According to Adrian van Tonder, chairman of the RTMS national steering committee, transport operators have seen the long-term benefits that RTMS compliance offers. “Over the last few years, we have seen a massive leap in the number of trucks and buses becoming RTMS compliant. In 2007, we had 74 RTMS certified heavy vehicles on the road. With our ongoing commitment to road safety, we hope to reach 11 000 before the end of the year.”
RTMS certification has grown to become an official SABS standard in the South African heavy vehicle transport sector.
HED: Ctrack scores industry-first
In a move described as an industry-first, vehicle tracking and fleet management company Ctrack has demonstrated how its advanced fleet management software is being used to simplify audits for members of the Road Transport Management System (RTMS).
The software solution was presented recently at a monthly meeting of the Transport Forum Special Interest Group (SIG) in Cape Town.
According to Hein Jordt, MD of Ctrack Fleet Management Solutions, this is the first platform of its kind to manage and store all information related to RTMS certification. More importantly, the platform includes policy guidelines that explain the different segments of RTMS requirements in detail.
The platform was created after Ctrack identified a need for an efficient, all-in-one software tool to manage and keep track of the standard road safety and transport productivity guidelines as set out by the RMTS.
The solution integrates with Ctrack’s existing advanced fleet management software suite, FleetConnect. The fully customisable platform enables a fleet owner to administer, manage and support the different aspects of a fleet’s activities.
CAP: Ready for the road… the first of 25 new Hinos fitted with its Nomad Africa Adventure Tours body kit
HED: Switching to Hino
Nomad Africa Adventure Tours has bought 25 Hino 500-Series 1626 trucks to replace retired models in its fleet of 47 vehicles. The consignment represents the first Hinos to be bought by the company, which made the decision following detailed research and positive feedback from tour operators of similar trucks.
“The most important requirements of a truck in the adventure tours business are reliability and durability, backed up by good fuel consumption and excellent after-sales support. We believe that this is what we are getting with the new Hino trucks,” says Alex Rutherford, managing director of Nomad.
The company operates a complex network of tours throughout sub-Saharan Africa, all of which run to tight timetables. The fleet is expected to cover more than three-million kilometres this year, made up of about 850 tours.
Hino Parow supplied the new trucks and will handle major services as well as coordinating back-up support. According to Rutherford, Nomad trucks typically run for five to eight years and are replaced when maintenance costs start to rise, usually after covering more than 800 000km.
HED: Good year for Hino
Despite South Africa’s tough economic climate, Hino SA is having a good year in terms of sales, says the brand’s vice-president, Ernie Trautmann.
“Hino’s overall market share currently stands at about 13,5% of the total truck and bus market and we are confident of improving our position in the run up to the end of the year. Our target is 14,6%” he says.
Trautmann confirmed his team’s commitment to making Hino the No 1 truck brand in South Africa by 2020. The strategy is being driven by Hino’s international total support programme, which aims to provide Hino SA customers with quality products and total support.
“We know the going is tough for the truck industry in South Africa, but we are confident that our quality products and Hino Total Support will continue to further improve the customer experience so we can reach our long term goals such as Vision 2020,” Trautmann says.
HED: Freightliner unveils new Cascadia
Freightliner has unveiled its new Cascadia, billed as the most advanced truck the company has produced. Designed to reduce the Real Cost of Ownership (RCO), the new model is said to be more fuel efficient than its predecessor, also offering greater connectivity, safety and uptime performance while introducing a premium driver experience as a powerful customer tool.
“Every element of the vehicle was examined and developed with an RCO-centric approach,” says Freightliner spokesman Richard Howard. “The original Cascadia set unprecedented standards for aerodynamic, lightweight and maintenance-reducing features and its successor, the Cascadia Evolution, unleashed powerful fuel-efficiency enhancements. Now every aspect of the new model has been re-imagined and raised to even greater levels.”
In developing the truck, Freightliner leveraged the global expertise of parent company Daimler AG and took into consideration feedback from customers, dealers and service technicians. The primary goal was to achieve significant fuel savings.
The truck is equipped with a choice of DD13 or DD15 engines coupled with DT12 automated manual transmission, intelligent powertrain management and corresponding Detroit steer and rear tandem axles. Intelligent powertrain management – IPM4 – makes use of GPS-based technology to anticipate upcoming road terrain and maximise the engine’s ability to utilise fuel most effectively.
“We are very proud of the new Cascadia,” says Howard. “It is the most advanced truck yet produced by Freightliner.”
HED: MiWay and Ctrack team up
Ctrack has announced its collaboration with MiWay Business Insurance to supply insurance telematics solutions to Heavy Commercial Vehicle (HCV) clients.
Morné Stoltz, Head of Business Insurance at MiWay, says the Ctrack solution not only supports stolen vehicle tracking and recovery, but also delivers rich contextual vehicle usage confirmation.
“Ctrack monitoring and ongoing management delivers granular data on driver behaviour and whereabouts, to enable more effective risk management for both the insurer and the fleet manager,” he says.
“Ctrack is an ideal business partner for MiWay. They are in the business of keeping vehicles, fleets and their occupants ‘Always Visible’. We are excited to partner with a company with such a great track record – over 30 years’ experience, a stolen vehicle recovery rate of over 95% and continuous investment in research and development,” says Stoltz.
HED: Medical delivery from Serco
Serco has delivered eight new truck bodies to Compass Medical Waste Services, adding to the six manufactured for the company last year.
In building the new bodies, Serco prioritised high environmental standards. Three of the larger units include roof-mounted solar panels to power tail lifts – eliminating the need to idle the truck during collections – as well as to power cameras and tracking systems.
Other features include load restraining rails, straps, a cargo net for containers and storage bins, a trolley fitted to the interior door, a spillage kit box for chemicals and cleaning equipment, and a Hazchem document holder.
HED: World’s fastest truck
Volvo’s custom-built truck, the Iron Knight, has broken world speed records for standing-starts over 500 and 1 000 metres.
Driven by Swedish race ace Boije Ovebrink, the truck attained a time of 21,29 seconds for the 1 000-metre sprint – clocking an average speed of 169km/h. In addition, Ovebrink beat the corresponding record for the 500-metre distance, stopping the clock at 13,71 seconds for an average speed of 131,29km/h. The record runs were carried out at a track in Sweden.
“This feat shows that our I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission has enormous potential. The fact that the world record-breaker uses a similar gearbox to that found in our series-built FH trucks is something that we’re really proud of,” says Claes Nilsson, President and CEO of Volvo Trucks.
The Iron Knight’s mid-mounted modified Volvo D13 engine makes use of four-turbochargers with water-cooled intercoolers and produces almost 1 800kW of power and 6 000Nm of torque.
“Specialists from several different Volvo Trucks departments worked closely together to develop a truck that offers unsurpassed performance. The fact that we succeeded in securing not just one record but two is absolutely amazing,” says Olof Johansson, a technician at Volvo Trucks.
HED: Women in the driving seat
Isuzu Truck South Africa (ITSA) has embarked on a mission to swell the ranks of women in South Africa’s commercial transport industry. The company recently joined forces with the Trading Transport Academy (TTA) and the Training, Education and Transport Authority (TETA) to teach females the business of trucking while studying for a national certificate in professional driving.
Kas Govender, Human Resources Manager of ITSA, says five women are currently undergoing tuition. “Six months into the course, the programme has begun to yield results. The trainees are armed with extensive knowledge of not just the art of driving, but also expertise that relates to the logistics of the industry.”
The women attend courses at the TTA, which is led by Nicola Scott, whose vision has always been to up-skill females in the trucking industry. The course is funded by Isuzu Trucks.
“This project has been a resounding success and we look forward to the women graduating in February next year. The course aims to change perceptions and break down barriers that stop women in believing that they are worthy of contributing to society in a way men can,” says Govender.
HED: Putting customers first
Express parcels company, DPD Laser, has rolled out an advanced mobile technology platform that offers customers unprecedented real-time visibility and control of their deliveries.
The rollout is a key part of DPD Laser’s strategy to offer market leading delivery services for both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) clients. “The e-commerce market in South Africa is set for massive growth but has been poorly served by delivery companies,” says Iain Johnson, CEO of DPD Laser. “Our technology development provides our customers – and their customers – a high-quality service which finally gives them the level of control they’ve wanted over their deliveries”.
Johnson says the company’s new Follow My Parcel platform alerts customers to their expected delivery time and confirms their delivery address, both of which can be changed by the recipient at any point during the delivery period.
“It also provides details of the specific driver and delivery vehicle, a useful feature in a security conscious environment. The platform then alerts the recipient by SMS when their delivery is next en-route and the recipient can track the driver on a live map.”
DPD Laser says the result is a more convenient and personalised delivery experience which has already improved first time delivery success rates and resulted in significantly less customer frustration.
HED: Delivery vans of the future?
Mercedes-Benz Vans is developing a revolutionary van prototype designed for an urban environment. As an integrated system, the vehicle merges a number of innovative technologies associated with last-mile delivery operations.
“The Vision Van sets the standard for performance requirements and solutions for future generations of vans,” says a statement released by the company.
According to Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, the model has been developed as part of the brand’s adVANce strategic initiative which will see it transform from manufacturer of vehicles into a supplier of holistic system solutions.
“The company is underscoring the strategy with the Vision Van as a visible manifestation of its innovative strength. The vehicle boasts an unprecedented level of connectivity of information and technologies. It is the first van worldwide to serve as an integrated concept for a completely digitally connected process chain, from the goods distribution depot to the consignee,” he says.
The van features a fully automated cargo space, integrated drones for autonomous air deliveries and state-of-the-art joystick control. Powered by a 75kW electric drive system with a range of up to 270 km, deliveries can be made emission-free to inner-city zones where the introduction of bans on vehicles with internal combustion engines is planned.