Vehicle Telematics and tracking company Ctrack recently joined forces with economists.co.za to create the Ctrack Logistics Barometer, an economic indicator and performance gauge of the South African logistics and supply chain industries.

During the official launch, Mike Schussler offered some fascinating insights into the Barometer and the South African economy.

The Ctrack logistic barometer is made up of 6 main sectors – Rail, Road, Air, Sea, Pipelines and Warehousing. There is perhaps no better slide to illustrate the importance of road freight transport for South Africa than the following:

In a challenging economic climate where especially rail has struggled in recent years, the road freight industry has remained very resilient and extremely competitive.

It is with this in mind that many are legitimately fearful of trucking violence, xenophobia and other factors that negatively impact on our road transport industry! Too many trucks are being petrol-bombed, attacked and roads closed during protests actions. This can only have an adverse impact on the logistics industry and road freight which plays such an important role in keeping the economy on the move!

The most recent police statistics have only further affirmed that crime is a significant challenge to safety on our roads. These crimes include truck hijacking [truckjacking], robberies and malicious destruction of property. Our truck drivers are continuously under threat from criminals not only on the roads but also when searching for a safe spot to rest after a long drive.

It is important to understand that truck violence is not only a problem for the Police and those responsible for Safety and Security! It also is a major problem and challenge to be addressed by the Department of Transport, the Department of Finance and the Treasury!

What can be done to protect our road freight logistics industry and the safety of our drivers?

Only a multi-disciplinary approach can protect our truck drivers, their trucks and the cargo in transit!!

Traffic Road and Enforcement Authorities 

It is up to the road authorities, traffic officials and police to gather intelligence, share information and take preventive action to ensure that roads remain open and safe for travel! By doing so they can timeously re-route truck drivers from areas of protest and have feet on the ground to address protests or make arrests.

Truck Stops and Specialists in Trucking Wellness

Professional operators of truck stops ensure that safe and well-guarded premises are available for stop and overnight facilities. Cooperation with Trucking Wellness and other wellness centres can also allow for additional safety checks.

An excellent example of partnerships can be seen in the cooperation between the Transport Sector Retirement Fund and the Highway Junction Truck Stops where world-class facilities are now available to drivers on the very busy N3 route! During the protest actions during Easter 2018 a total of 694 trucks were parked at this truck stops while efforts continued to clear the protest actions near Mooi River!

Initiatives such as Hollard Highways Heroes are also aimed at rewarding safe driving behaviour among our truck drivers and gaining insights on how to better protect them on our roads!

Fleet Management and Truck Insurance 

Fleet managers are able to monitor and track vehicle movement and quickly identify problem areas! It is important for fleet managers and telematics companies to share information on [sometimes closed] social media portals. A stolen truck which is recovered is a victory for more than only the company which installed the tracking unit. Through partnerships in information sharing more eyes and ears are on the tar and a greater visible presence is created to the benefit of all!

Insurance companies are able to offer the necessary protection for potential loss of cargo. Most transporters and fleet managers are aware of the benefits od SASRIA insurance cover during times of riots and public violence. It is though important to understand that this benefit is only applicable once there is an existing insurance contract. We would like to quote:

“In order to obtain cover with Sasria, the customer must first have a conventional insurance policy for their business. Sasria will then provide add-on benefits to that insurance product and relevant Sasria claims on that policy are processed by the primary insurer. The Sasria premium amount is a small percentage of the premium amount paid over to conventional insurance entities.

The encompassing goal of the company is to help nurture and support positive growth and change in South Africa by providing risk cover that offers surety in an unsure world.”

In the existing transport and road environment, it is irresponsible to consider moving freight without the necessary insurance. It is also legally required through the consignor/ consignee legislation that insurance is in place!

Our economy is indeed moving on many large truck wheels – may we never forget and work in partnerships to ensure that it keeps moving forward!!