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COVID-19 Travel App Passport: The rollout on a new initiative

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To restart the international aviation sector and re-open boarders without having individuals having to quarantine the government needs to be confident that they are able to effectively mitigate the risk importing COVID-19.

Passengers will be informed on what tests, vaccines and other measures they require before traveling as well as details on where they can get tested, while giving them the ability to share their test and vaccinations results in a verifiable, safe and private manner while giving government the confidence to open borders.

The idea is that once the vaccine is widely available, a passport would be issued to the individuals that have been vaccinated to allow them to move freely, both locally and globally, by allowing access to indoor restaurants, movie theaters, and international travel.

Emirates will implement phase 1 in Dubai for the validation before departing.  In this initial phase, expected to begin in April, Emirates customers traveling from Dubai will be able to share their Covi-19 test status directly with the airline even before reaching the airport through a app, which will then auto-populate the details on the check-in system.

This platform will also enable authorized labs and test centers to securely send test results or vaccination certificates to passenger.

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Saving South Africa’s trucking industry

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Since the mass torching of trucks on the N3 Mooi River in 2018, the trucking industry has faced numerous challenges that have threatened not only the sustainability of the sector, but to some extent, the stability of the African economy. The N3 serves as the gateway to the largest and busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa, the Port of Durban, which handles up to 31.4 million tons of cargo per annum.

The past 18 months have not been any easier for the sector. The continuance of sporadic torching of trucks and attacks on truck drivers, service delivery protests and looting, the lockdown and various restrictions associated with the Covid 19 pandemic have further crippled the industry.

Due to the restrictions and limitation of transportation of essential goods during the hard lockdown, transporters have seen a massive drop in their turnovers, with most having to downsize and some even permanently closing. Those who are lucky enough to still be operational now must stretch their staff and chase deadlines, which places further pressure and fatigue on drivers due to the long hours on the road – a major concern.

With these challenges, Santam Heavy Haulage, as an insurance partner to the trucking industry, for example, has sought to educate both clients and brokers on how to better manage and mitigate risk to keep insurance premiums at a minimum. Insurance has traditionally been viewed as a grudge purchase, but recent events have highlighted the critical role it can play in minimising financial loss.

To be successful, businesses need to prioritise their people’s wellbeing. Drivers are the driving force behind the trucking industry. Entrusting them with assets and cargo worth millions requires that they are equipped with the necessary skills, a conducive working environment, and regular access to medical check-ups to help them make better health choices.

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Mobile transportation platform DiDi to expand in other parts of SA

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Ride-hailing platform, DiDi, aims to expand its service across South Africa in the coming months. SA launch lead for DiDi, Ken Liu, announced this at a recent media event held at the DiDi Driver Centre in Cape Town. DiDi offers competition for other popular driving apps, Uber and Bolt.

DiDi, which started recruiting driver-partners in Gauteng in June, will officially begin rides in Johannesburg and Pretoria from 23 August. They also have plans to further expand to Durban, KZN, before the end of 2021.

The e-hailing services app first launched in South Africa with a successful pilot run in Gqeberha (formerly P.E), in March this year. In May, services extended to Cape Town. Since then, the Chinese mobility platform has registered thousands of drivers, enabling residents to get from A to B.

DiDi focuses on providing safe and flexible entrepreneurship opportunities for drives as well as safe and reliable transportation options for riders. During a press conference, Liu emphasized the app’s safety features. “Our value proposition for our operation in South Africa is safety. For the drivers’ side it’s safety and better earnings, and on the riders’ side, it’s safety and affordability,” Lui said.

The DiDi app boasts several features for both drivers and passengers, including facial recognition, share trips with contacts, SOS button linked to police, smart geofencing for drivers to opt-out of unsafe areas and unmatch from riders for drivers and vice versa.

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SAA to reopen

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SAA Plane

South African Airways announced on Twitter that it will restart flying between limited destinations from 23rd September. This is after a year of halted operations due to failed debt repayment.

In July, the government had said that it was selling a 51% stake in the carrier to Takatso consortium, which had committed more than R3bn to bring the airline back. This contribution should be sufficient to operate the airline for 12 to 36 months.

SAA is one of several of the country’s debt-ridden enterprises that have continuously relied on the government to bail them out. SAA entered a form of bankruptcy protection in December 2019, however, its state worsened as the pandemic restricted air travel and put a greater toll on its cash flow.

“After months of diligent work, we are delighted that SAA is resuming service,” the airline said on Twitter, quoting interim chief executive Thomas Kgokolo.

To start, SAA will reopen flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town, Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo. More destinations will be added to the route network as it ramps up operations according to market conditions.

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