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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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Transport

Woolworths to use electric vehicles to deliver retail orders to customers

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Popular food and clothing retailer Woolworths has announced via social media that it’s trial-running a handful of electric vans that Everlectric has supplied (and operated in partnership with DSV, its logistics partner). The company aims to reduce its impact on the environment across its value chain.

Everlectric is a bespoke supplier of electric vans. The vehicles that Woolworths is using, according to a report by CleanTechnica, is the SAIC Maxus eDeliver3. It’s an all-electric vehicle with a carrying capacity of 905kg. The van boasts a 52.5kWh battery pack for 240km of driving range on a WLTP cycle.

Woolworths uses photovoltaic solar panels to capture energy from the sun, which it then pipes into the test vehicles’ battery packs at its depot. Using the sun’s power and considering the overall reduction in emissions compared to using a diesel-powered delivery vehicle of this capacity, Woolies has been able to save 3.6 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the past two months of testing the electric vans.

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Transport

AASA calls for urgent action in the Southern Africa air transport industry

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The Airline Association of Southern Africa (AASA) has warned that without urgent and coordinated government interventions, a commercially viable, economic, and environmentally sustainable southern African air transport industry will remain unattainable.

Urgent actions Aasa has identified include:

• The removal of barriers to trade and market access with the full implementation of the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM) to support the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

• Financial relief for airlines by way of reducing or scrapping some taxes and statutory charges, fees and levies on air travel.

• Standardising currently inconsistent Covid-19 travel and test requirements and reducing the costs of compliance which together are deterring intra-Africa and inter-continental travel.

• The appointment of South Africa’s international and domestic air services licencing councils – which have been without councillors since April. Without these functioning bodies, South African carriers cannot apply to open new routes, promote economic activity or create more jobs. And yet foreign airlines are increasing their operations to the country – an own goal.

• Proper planning with clear timelines and funding models for the transition to sustainable fuels in the region so that airlines can meet their 2050 net-zero emissions targets.

• Finding ways to incorporate the progress made with the Carbon Tax initiatives in some countries whilst harmonising participation in the global carbon offsetting programme under the auspices of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (Corsia).

• Standardising charges for foreign operator permits, aircraft operating permits as well as removing the double-taxation on airlines and aircraft components by all African governments.

• Aligning legislation to adopt the 2001 Cape Town Convention on the ownership of moveable assets, which would immediately realise millions of dollars in savings for airlines (and other operators of mobile equipment) in the region.

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Transport

4 things that motorists need to know

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Most drivers would by now be acquainted with the new guidelines to competition in the South African automotive aftermarket. There is still uncertainty out there, however, in terms of what this really means for the general motorist. Kate Elliott, chief executive officer of Right to Repair South Africa (R2RSA), offers four things that consumers need to know about the new rules to help clear things up.

1. You have the right to choose your service provider

Independent service providers can now service and perform maintenance on cars both during the in-warranty period and after. “You may choose to service your vehicle at the dealer from whom you purchased your vehicle, or you can elect to shop around for the best possible price and service quality,” says Elliott.

2. Your warranty is protected no matter which service provider you choose

Elliott says previously, motor manufacturers would void the warranty if a vehicle was not serviced at the dealership. The Competition Commission has now declared this practice as incompatible with the Competition Act.

3. You are entitled to use non-original spare parts

With cost always being an issue, the good news is that consumers can now shop around and are entitled to use non-original spare parts (for example oil filters) in your vehicle during your vehicle’s in-warranty period and manufacturers are not entitled to void your warranty. “It is no different to selecting a generic antibiotic – the same just more cost-effective,” she says.

4. Unbundling of service/maintenance plans from the price of a vehicle

When you buy a car, vehicle retailers are now obliged to provide you with separate prices for your vehicle and for any value-added products that they might have on offer, such as service and maintenance plans.

Car retailers are also obliged to sell you a new vehicle without a service or maintenance plan if you do not wish to purchase one. “You do the maths,” she says, “and you may be pleasantly surprised at just how much you can knock off the purchase price of your car.”

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