Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines recently launched their 40th humanitarian delivery flight carrying more than 20,000 pounds of humanitarian supplies. The shipment, including supplies for health care and family needs, will be distributed to hospitals, clinics and charities in the Addis Ababa region.
Humanitarian supplies on the flight were provided by three charitable partners in Seattle: Resolute Health Outreach (RHO), the Ethiopian National COVID-19 Response Task Force of Seattle and Embuaa Family. They contributed supplies ranging from face masks, wipes and sterile gloves to exam tables, bassinets, medicine and more.
The Ethiopian National COVID-19 Response Task Force is led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, in partnership with Ethiopian embassies and diaspora communities around the world. “After COVID-19 came to Ethiopia, the Ethiopian community in the U.S. decided we needed to do something,” said Pastor Berhanu Waldemariam, chairman of the Seattle branch of the Ethiopian National COVID-19 Response Task Force. “We have collected these items and hospital equipment to help the Ethiopian government and people stay connected through partners such as Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing.”
The Humanitarian Delivery Flight Program was launched in 1992 as a collaboration between Boeing and its customers to transport humanitarian supplies assistance around the world on newly delivered airplanes with otherwise empty cargo holds. To date, there have been over 200 humanitarian delivery flights. More than 1.6 million pounds of critical supplies have been delivered since the start of the program.
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”.