In Africa there is a move towards using drones to transport vaccines and medical supplies to isolated villages and communities.
VillageReach, is a non-governmental organisation that is striving to improve communities’ access to healthcare and life-saving medicines and vaccines in remote rural areas in developing countries.
Gavi is an international organisation created in 2000 to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.
They have collaborated with the ministry of health and the civil aviation authority in the DRC and have been sending medical supplies, with drones, into hard-to-reach locations. These locations are inaccessible by motorcycle or 4×4 vehicle.
It is a six-day, treacherous, return journey for health workers, serving in these remote locations, to collect vaccines and other medical supplies. Using the drones eliminates the length and danger of these journeys and ensures that the vaccine quality is not compromised by maintaining them in temperature-controlled packaging.
The drones being used can fly up to 80 kilometres at a speed of up to 115 kilometres per hour.
If the drone needs to fly 400 kilometres from the distribution centre or warehouse it stops at 5 ‘filling stations’ along the way for the battery to be changed. The technology is developing so in the future there should be fewer restrictions.
Since the drones do not include cameras privacy is not an issue, and to date, there have been no safety problems. The drones are not operating within a 15km radius of an airport.
In the future drones will be used more extensively as transport in the supply chain.
Transnet’s Plan to Deal With Damaging Weather Conditions
Transnet is investigating methods to deal with unpredictable and severe weather patterns, which have affected the railway network during and after cyclone Eloise, which hit Southern Africa in late January, resulting in heavy and persistent rainfall across South Africa.
Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), in particular, experienced disruptions over the past weeks, as a result of severe damage caused by excessive rain following cyclone Eloise. The rain caused unusual disruptions on the heavy-haul lines, including the iron-ore and the manganese channel, leading to a number of wash-away incidents that can cause derailments or serious accidents.
Following several wash-away incidents, TFR has had to shut down a number of railway lines to repair and replace culverts that are used to facilitate the channelling of water in one direction. Such unplanned train stoppages result in financial losses and negatively affect Transnet customers.
Transnet is implementing methods to deal with such incidents as part of its efforts to improve the reliability of its delivery of freight for customers. Increased changes and unpredictability in weather patterns mean that improved measures need to be implemented to avoid damage to the railway network and port infrastructure, in future.
As part of preventive measures, TFR will conduct topography and hydrological surveys in all areas susceptible to heavy rains, the outcomes of which will be incorporated into the shutdowns that occur yearly.
TFR also carries out inspections governed by the manual for infrastructure condition assessments. This occurs at least twice a year before winter and summer and ensures that the culverts are cleaned of any debris, vegetation and blockages before heavy rains.
Stop AARTO Now, says the Road Freight Association
The Road Freight Association (RFA) is shocked and deeply concerned about the recent suspension of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Japh Chuwe, amidst allegations of “serious maladministration” by the Auditor-General. This has a severe impact on the implementation of the highly controversial Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO), which is scheduled to be implemented in July this year.
Whilst we welcome the uncovering of corruption, it would be irresponsible and reckless for Government to proceed with the implementation of AARTO. The RFA has over the years expressed concern and uneasiness about AARTO and its susceptibility to fraud, corruption, and money laundering. The RTIA’s latest announcement is confirmation of our worst fears.
Once AARTO is implemented, the RTIA will be handling Billions of Rand. How can we now trust the entity – especially when the dishonesty and corruption is allegedly at the highest level in the Agency? We already face huge corruption, extorsion and intimidation at the hands of traffic police on a daily basis and this latest development has highlighted how rampant dishonesty is in the public service – especially in the traffic law enforcement and management structures. These allegations have undermined what little faith we had in RTIA. If the system is implemented, we envisage theft on a grand scale.
The RFA once again proposes that AARTO be shelved. The continuously amended system is all about generating revenue and not at all about road safety, which was what the system was originally about. Huge administrative resources will be required to implement and sustain an antiquated and cumbersome system, putting additional burdens on already-overburdened government authorities and the private sector.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) – another Agency of the Department of Transport – already costs motorists hundreds of millions of Rand per annum through the levy imposed on all eNatis transactions. This was supposed to be a temporary measure to get the RTMC on its feet. Like all other levies, this has become permanent with no added value to citizens. The RTMC needs to step up and do its job, that is, to manage road traffic according to proper traffic management strategies with effective centralised road safety interventions and operational management.
The RFA believes that proper traffic management strategies which focus resources to address hazardous locations and other aspects of unsafe road behaviour would be far more effective in improving road safety – rather than the current cumbersome AARTO system being proposed.
Being Bold During A Pandemic
Despite the blatant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the truck industry, there are allot of smiles at Mercedes-Benz trucks. The brand of Daimler Truck & Buses Southern Africa (DTBSA) has achieved leadership position in the Heavy-Duty Truck (HDT) segment in 2020.
Maretha Gerber, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks said they have made bold moves last year during the tough times everyone was facing, and the results are starting to show. It could not have been possible without the dedication and resilience demonstrated by the internal staff and dealer partners to excel, collaborate, adjust, and push through everything that was thrown at them.
Everyone will agree that 2020 was a tough year for companies and the entire trucking industry, and Mercedes is humbled to celebrate this success. This would not have been possible without their customers and the continued trust they have paced on the brand while working tirelessly, across different industries, under unique operating conditions.
Looking at the start of 2021 the trucking industry continues to weather the Covid-19 storm and the Mercedes-Benz brand remains determined to deliver uninterrupted sales and service to all customers across South Africa and continue to live up to the brand’s promise of “Trucks you can Trust”.