Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) recently launched a five-year pilot project to run a 44-pallet Performance-Based Standard (PBS) trailer between Bloemfontein and Upington. The launch took place at Gutsche Plant, in Hamilton, Bloemfontein.

The PBS trailer is 27.9 metres long and can transport 44 pallets, as compared with the conventional 30-pallet trailer. This truck is expected to reduce road traffic and improve safety, while also enhancing productivity for CCBSA. It is projected to reduce the number of loads that will need to be transported along this route by 78%.

“This pilot project is part of an ongoing programme for us to continuously develop new ways of delivering to our customers while contributing towards managing the heavy traffic on South Africa’s road infrastructure – to minimise damage, improve safety and to reduce congestion,” said CCBSA Logistics Director, Flora Jika.

According to Jika, this approach uses performance-based standards, which specify the performance required of a heavy vehicle on particular routes, bearing in mind both safety and the nature of the road infrastructure itself.

“Performance-based standards provide greater leeway for vehicle designers to come up with innovative ideas. Trucks and trailers designed in this way are often called smart trucks,” she said.

CCBSA and the Department of Transport (DoT) are exploring a partnership aimed at designing, manufacturing and operating a number of projects to demonstrate the performance-based standards concept, and the positive impact it could have on South Africa’s logistics industry from multiple perspectives, especially safety and productivity.

As part of this partnership, CCBSA has made available two of its state-of-the-art simulator trucks to the DoT for one day a week for the purpose of training truck and bus drivers across the country. These simulator trucks are used by CCBSA to train its own drivers, including those who will be driving the new performance-based standards vehicles.

“CCBSA views safety as a non-negotiable in our business, which is why we are collaborating with the DoT to test the performance-based standard vehicles and making our simulators available to a wider group than just our own drivers, and we are very excited by the potential of this project to redefine safety and productivity in the road-freight industry in this country,” Jika said.