Transaid launches driver training initiative in Malawi

Transaid, an international development organisation, has expanded its professional driver training programmes into Malawi. This follows the programme’s success in raising commercial driver training standards in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

With its headquarters in the UK, Transaid aims to improve people’s quality of life in the developing world by making transport more available and affordable. It was founded by Save the Children and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) and works by sharing skills and knowledge with local people to enable them to put in place and manage efficient transport systems.

In Malawi, Transaid experts will be working alongside Malawi’s Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) to tackle the high road traffic fatality rate in the country which, according to the WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015, stands at an estimated 35 deaths per 100 000 population, compared to 2.9 per 100 000 in the UK.

Initially running for three months in Blantyre and Lilongwe – and thanks to generous support­ from a private donor – the project will offer driver trainers from public and private sectors UK-standard training and the tools to pass on this first-class tuition to their own students.

Vehicle inspection courses for the country’s traffic police and officers from the DRTSS will also form part of the project, facilitating better enforcement of Malawi’s road regulations.

Gary Forster, CEO of Transaid, says: “We’re thrilled to be working in Malawi and hope to replicate the success that the driver training initiatives have had in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, which in the past 12 months alone helped to train nearly 6 000 commercial drivers.”

The programme will be bolstered with the support of professional volunteers from the European transport and logistics sector, including Silvio Sorrentino, Operations Manager at ALSA, part of the National Express Group, who will oversee the coordination of the scheme as project officer.

The programme will also benefit from a series of two week secondments, including PSV training from National Express’ trainer, Phil Reynolds, and two HGV inputs – first from Chris Hill, senior driver trainer from Hoyer Petrolog UK and second, from DHL’s senior driving instructor, Chris Brook.

Vehicle inspection training will be conducted by the Road Haulage Association’s Technical Director, Steve Biddle, and training manager, Bob Auchterlonie.

“The wealth of expertise that our professional volunteers bring to our projects is simply phenomenal. We would like to thank our volunteers and our corporate members for their continuing support and commitment to making this new project in Malawi a success,” says Forster.

Prior to the launch of the project, Transaid’s Road Safety Project Manager, Neil Rettie, and programme support manager, Sam Clark, carried out a research and assessment trip to Malawi. During the visit, the pair held a workshop for key stakeholders with the aim of discussing Malawi’s road safety standards and identifying the areas most in need of Transaid’s support.

Container truckers! Check this out.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has amended the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) which seeks to promote safety when transporting goods at sea. The amendments, which came into effect on 1 July 2016, apply globally.The new regulation applies to all packed containers to which the International Convention for Safe Containers (CSC) applies and which are to be loaded onto a ship subject to SOLAS chapter VI.

The amendments require that a packed container’s gross weight be verified, with all containers weighed to meet standard transport requirements before shipment. From now on, not weighing containers will be a violation of the legislation and will result in a fine. Historically, a lack in verification of shipping weights has resulted in unsafe conditions at sea – for both ships and their crew members.According to Toni Fritz, Head of Vehicle Asset Finance: Business at Standard Bank, the regulation verifying gross mass will benefit shippers and road freight sectors.There are two weighing methods under the new regulation. The first method weighs the full container at weighbridge. The second method weighs the contents of the container separately – and then adds the tare (empty) weight of the container, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State in which packing of the container was completed.

“The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) ensures safety by enforcing compliance with the rules and regulations governing the transport sector,” says Toni Fritz, Head of Vehicle Asset Finance: Business at Standard Bank.SAMSA works closely with both the regulatory bodies concerned with weighing equipment, namely: the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), and the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS). The new SOLAS regulations, which apply to the entire ocean freight industry, will align maritime transportation with existing land and air freight measures designed to avoid the dangers caused by improperly weighed cargos.

Fritz says the benefit of the new legislation for the road freight industry lies in the elimination of incorrectly declared containers, which so often result in damaged trucks and roads. As such, “the amendment will improve quality control, reduce misdeclared cargo weights, mitigate costs associated with additional administration, and further limit the illicit or illegal movement of goods,” she says.Under the amendment the shipper, namely the person whose name appears on the waybill, is responsible for verifying the gross mass. The regulations require that a container’s weight should not exceed the maximum gross mass indicated on the container’s safety approval plate – in line with international conventions for safe containers. A container with a gross mass exceeding the maximum permitted gross weight may not be loaded onto the ship as without the proper verification the container will not be accepted on board.

“Completing the correct documentation will require more time and cost. Shippers need to factor this into their scheduling and budgeting plans,” says Fritz. “Since all shipping companies will need to adhere to the weight verification requirements of the amended SOLAS regulation, it is essential that the information is provided to other parties timeously to ensure that they have enough time to check that each container meets the new legislative requirements.”Although the legislation focuses on increasing safety, the costs of adhering to the law will undoubtedly impact the whole supply chain. As such, companies should familiarise themselves with the new regulations so as to avoid penalties for not adhering to the new industry standards, as well as prevent any surprises related to possible increased costs.SOLAS will improve safety at sea and reduce wear and tear on trucks as overloading will be minimised. As such, the new legislation is likely to drive the need for greater responsibility and coordination throughout the supply chain.

“Compliance, over the long term, will, however, be cheaper than the costs of non-compliance and safety will undoubtedly be improved in line with international standards,” Fritz reckons.

Mercedes present electric truck

The first fully electric truck the Mercedes-Benz urban eTruck with an admissible weight of up to 26 tonnes was recently launched by Daimler Trucks in Stuttgart.

This means that in the future, heavy trucks will take part in urban distribution operations with zero local emissions and hardly a whisper. Daimler Trucks seas the market launch of this truck by the beginning of the next decade.

In the light distribution sector, Daimler Trucks has already been impressively demonstrating the day-to-day suitability of the fully electric truck in customer trials with the Fuso Canter E-Cell since 2014. The development of electric trucks and series production maturity are fixed parts of the strategy of Daimler Trucks to build on their technological leadership. In future a considerable part of the future investments by the truck division in the fields of research and development will flow in the further development of the full electric drive.

“Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks. Nowadays costs, performance and charging times develop further so rapidly that now there is a trend reversal in the distribution sector. The time is ripe for the electric truck. In light distribution trucks, the Fuso Canter E-Cell has already been undergoing intensive customer trials since 2014. With the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, we are now electrifying the heavy distribution segment up to 26 tonnes. We intend to establish electric driving as systematically as autonomous and connected driving,” says Dr Wolfgang Bernhard, responsible for Daimler Trucks & Buses at the Board of Management.

Growing urbanisation requires fully electric trucks

The first fully electric truck the Mercedes-Benz urban eTruck with an admissible weight of up to 26 tonnes was recently launched by Daimler Trucks in Stuttgart.Weltpremiere; Elektromobilität; modulares Batteriekonzept; Verteilerverkehr

Better air quality, lower noise and restricted-access zones are now important keywords in large urban areas worldwide, as more people worldwide are moving to cities. 2008 was the first year in which more people lived in cities than in the countryside. The trend is continuing: The UN predicts a global population of nine billion people by 2050, with approximately 70 percent of them living in cities. In future, it will be necessary to transport goods in urban environments for increasing numbers of people – and with the lowest possible emissions and noise. By now large cities such as London or Paris are considering a ban on internal combustion engines in city centres in the future. That means: there will be fully electric trucks ensuring the supply of humas with food or other goods of daily needs.

Fast enhancement of battery capacity while significantly lower costs

Until quite recently, the use of fully electric drives systems in trucks seemed to be unimaginable – especially because of the high costs of the batteries coupled with a low range. The technology has now become much more mature. In particular battery cells rapidly developing further. Daimler Trucks expects the costs of batteries to lower by the factor 2.5 between 1997 and 2025 – from 500 Euro/kWh down to 200 Euro/kWh. At the same time, performance will improve by the same factor over the same period – from 80 Wh/kg up to 200 Wh/kg. Stefan Buchner, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks: “With the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, we are underlining our intention to systematically developing the electric drive in trucks to series production maturity. This means that we will begin to integrate customers, so as to gain valuable joint experience with respect to the operating ranges and the charging infrastructure in daily transport operations. Because we think the entry of this technology into the series production is already conceivable at the beginning of the next decade.”

Innovative battery technology for Urban e Truck

Technically the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck is based on a heavy-duty, three-axle short-radius Mercedes-Benz distribution truck. In addition, however, the developers at Daimler Trucks have totally revised the drive concept: The entire conventional drivetrain being replaced by a new electrically driven rear axle with electric motors directly adjacent to the wheel hubs – derived from the electric rear axle which was developed for the Mercedes-Benz Citaro hybrid bus. The power is supplied by a battery pack consisting of three lithium-ion battery modules. This results in a range of up to 200 km – enough for a typical daily delivery tour. Thanks to the integrated concept with motors adjacent to the wheel hubs, the batteries are housed in a crash-proof location inside the frame.

As the EU Commission is in favour of increasing the permissible gross vehicle weight of trucks with alternative drives by up to one tonne, this will more or less level out the weight surplus of the electric drive. This will raise the permissible gross vehicle weight of the Urban e Truck from 25 to 26 tonnes, which will bring the original extra weight down to 700 kg compared with a directly comparable IC-engined truck.

Fuso Canter E-Cell: – in operation since 2014

All-electric drive is already a reality. This is demonstrated by the Fuso Canter E-Cell. Fuso already presented the first generation of the fully electrically powered Canter in 2010. The second generation followed in 2014. With ranges of over 100 kilometres, the vehicles exceeded the average daily distance covered by many trucks in light-duty short-radius distribution. Under widely varying operating conditions, the trucks covered more than 50,000 km within one year. In the process the trucks were locally emission-free and, taking power generation into account, reduced CO2 emissions by 37 percent compared to diesel engines. The operating costs were 64 percent lower on average.

Marc Llistosella, Head of Daimler Trucks Asia and President & CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Trucks and Bus Cooperation (MFTBC): “The current generation Canter E-Cell offers our customers transport services which are not only environment-friendly, but also economical. Our test in Lisbon revealed respectable savings of around 1000 euros per 10,000 kilometres in comparison to diesel trucks.”

“We at Fuso have now acquired extensive experience in the development of local emission-free commercial vehicles und we will consequently pursue this development also in future. At the Commercial Vehicles show IAA in September, will will take a step further towards series production with our next generation under the new name: Fuso eCanter,” continues Llistosella.

Current fleet trials with the Fuso Canter E-Cell in Germany

Current fleet trials with the Fuso Canter E-Cell in Germany

Since April 2016 the city of Stuttgart and the parcel service provider Hermes are testing five Fuso Cater E-Cell in Germany. Especially the using in the topographically very demanding environment in urban Stuttgart provides important insights for Daimler Trucks from the customer operation with regard to the further development of the fully electric drive. First results from this customer trial are expected at the beginning of 2017.

Dirk Rahn, Managing Director Operations at Hermes Germany underlined during the today’s event: “We are very proud of our successful cooperation with Daimler in the development of relevant future technologies for many years. Also regarding the current project, we accepted with pleasure the invention of Daimler to actively support the testing of the Fuso Canter E-Cell out of our logistical everyday life. Thereby, the results of our trest run are extremely positive! With regard to the growing requirements in city logistics we are now looking forward to test further vehicle classes and to bring them to market maturity soon. Our common goal: making e-mobility more economical.”

Traffic Surveys and Roadside Counts

TRAFFIC SURVEYS AND ROADSIDE COUNTS

At least 20 unemployed graduates and out-of-school leavers have been engaged in the ongoing country-wide traffic surveys and counts conducted by CPCS Transcom Ltd., the Canadian Consulting Company contracted by the Ministry of Transport and Communications to develop the National Transport Master Plan and Greater Gaborone Master Plan.

These young graduates, who are supported by the Botswana Police Service officers, have so far concluded capturing data along the A1 road in the Lobatse and Ramokgwebana area.

The surveys will provide data on travel patterns and assess public willingness to pay for any changes that may be effected to improve services. Significantly, these changes will impact on the quality of life for Batswana.

The data will be used to prepare the National Transport Master Plan that will support the economic and social development of the nation for the next 15-20 years. The Plan will set out programmes for the improvement of road, rail and air transport and explore opportunities in pipeline, riverine and maritime modes of transport. It will also ensure that the country is better integrated with the region to meet the needs of a diversifying economy to create jobs and raise living standards.

These surveys along the A1 road in the Lobatse and Ramokgwebane are being run in conjunction with similar surveys in the Lephepe area where another group of 20 young unemployed graduates and schools leavers have also captured data.

The surveys have embraced the use of new technologies and systems developed by a local Batswana company named Best Web Ltd.

SADC Fuel expansion opens Opportunities

New routes for fuel imports to SADC countries are being enabled through the development of several southern African ports. However, energy companies will require local networks of logistics partners to make these imports cost-effective. General manager at logistics specialist Crossroads Distribution, Hennie van Wyk believes there are three vital areas to get right.
Until fairly recently, the southern African fuel industry has been based in Durban, Cape Town and Mossel Bay, where imported oil or locally produced gas from offshore fields is refined into various types of fuel and then distributed throughout South Africa and the SADC region. However, the completed expansion of the facilities at Matola, the port of Maputo in Mozambique, along with the on-going expansion of Richards Bay in South Africa, Walvis Bay in Namibia, and the central and northern Mozambican ports of Beira and Nacala, is facilitating a growing trend of SADC countries buying refined fuels on the global market and importing them directly into different SADC regions, such as Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The new ports, with enhanced storage, safety and transportation infrastructure – and the advantage of being a lot closer to various SADC fuel markets – will allow energy companies to serve these markets more cost-effectively. However, in a challenging market that has seen some decline in volumes recently, this cost-efficiency requires a network of both international and local logistics providers to move the fuel from port to distributor. Rail might be useful in transporting fuel from ports to inland depots, but road transport from depots to retail distributors will provide flexibility without the need for multi-modal solutions.

Transport Operators Cry Foul

Botswana passenger and freight operators have complained of an unfair and sour business climate in Zambia over heavy fees and levies that are required of them.Speaking at a Botswana-Zambia joint committee in Kasane, Botswana operators felt that as a result of such fees, operating in Zambia no longer looked viable and sustainable for their businesses.The meeting sought to discuss passenger and freight transportation affecting cross-border movement between the two countries.Representing Botswana’s Truckers Association, Dr Comfort Mokgothu noted that doing business for them in Zambia was too expensive as they were required to pay too many taxes and levies, which he said are selective to which country one originates from.“For instance, a South African truck is required to pay US$110 in toll fees while a truck from Botswana pays $541 for a single trip,” he said.

This figure, he said, does not include the additional carbon tax, council levy and the road service license permit that they are also required to pay pushing the figure up to P10 000.In comparison, he said Zambian trucks only pay around P1630 when they operate in Botswana.“As a result of such exorbitant fees, Botswana trucks have now been pushed out of transporting salt from Botash, which is made in Sua as this simply does not make any business sense,” he added.
Truckers also complained of inconsistencies with weighing formulas, which they said are not in line with South African Development Community (SADC) protocols.another member of the truckers association, Mr Anthony Lee.

A representative from Botswana Buses Association Mr Ndaba Nkiwane also lamented the heavy fees they are charged when crossing the ferry as Batswana operators.“We get charged US$65 at the ferry while a Zambian registered bus is charged only K123,” he said.Additionally they also have to pay loading bay fees in Zambia amounting to K2 000, which is roughly the same amount in Pula.Moreover, axle weight limits, which have been increased by SADC, have not been implemented by Zambia and all these factors have soured the business climate for Batswana who operate in Zambia.Responding to some of these queries, one of the Zambian officials Ms Flavia Musonda from Road Transport and Safety Agency, noted that most of these fees were reciprocal, based on existing bilateral agreements or the lack thereof between the two countries.

She added that most countries in the region had implemented SADC’s US$10/100 kilometre formula, which Botswana has apparently not implemented. “As a result, we are forced to charge Batswana with a different formula as they have not implemented the SADC protocol, whereas countries such as South Africa have implemented these, which explains their lower charges,” she said.Rates for Botswana, she said are based on weight and currently Botswana does not have toll gates.

Zambian officials also advised that it would be cheaper for Batswana if Botswana adopted a single permit system, which would cut back on the road service license permit fee required.“Botswana had agreed to implement the single permit system but implementation of the agreement is what is lagging behind,” the deputy director for Zambia Transport Mr Rodgers Nkando noted.The Zambian delegation has also promised that council levies will be looked into as they were already a contentious issue even in Zambia.

Botswana Coal Transportation Deal

Zimbabwe and Botswana have agreed to cooperate in the transportation of coal, under which Gaborone will export about 10 million tonnes of the mineral, per annum, using Harare’s under-utilised railway system.

Zimbabwe Transport Minister Obert Mpofu told state radio that he has agreed in principle with Botswana Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Minister Onkokame Kitso Mokaila on the facilitation of coal exports. “We met with the Botswana officials who requested our support in ensuring that they export coal using our railway system, Mpofu told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.He said officials from the two countries would soon be engaging each other in the necessary measures required to make exportation of coal feasible on the existing railway infrastructure that connects Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.Landlocked Botswana is exploring alternative routes to export its abundant coal. It often finds it expensive to ferry its exports through the sea and is compelled to use ports in neighbouring countries.

Challenges of Transport Across Sub-Saharan Africa

Even at the best of times there are many challenges that those involved in the road freight and logistics industry must confront when chartering territory in Africa. These challenges create incredible vulnerabilities to delays, non-deliveries, damage of commodities, loss of fleet and higher operational expenses. Unfortunately, these countries also play host to some of the most poorly maintained road systems in the world, widespread political conflict and hostile weather conditions. This is why collaborating with a sound logistics partner is key to ensure your valuable cargo arrives at its destination promptly and in pristine condition. This review analyses some of the challenges of moving goods through often treacherous parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

A fundamental challenge facing logistics companies is the poor condition of roads due to inadequate maintenance and overloading. The CSIR currently reports that about 60% of the poor road networks that logistics companies endure in SA can be linked to overloading. You would also tend to think that the extensive road network in SADC and Sub-Saharan Africa would make moving your goods relatively seamless, right? Well think again; according to the Southern African Yearbook only a small proportion – approximately 20% – of the road network is actually constructed to cater for heavy-duty transportation. Botswana is considered to have one of the best road networks, yet only about one third of their roads are in a state that allows trucks to travel safely on them.

Another burgeoning challenge is lack of sufficient funding for infrastructural development in Southern Africa. Unavailability of adequate budget, absence of optimum public sector skills and technology, and much slower than anticipated private sector participation, has hindered infrastructural development. This in turn slows down the movement of your goods by road, rail, air and sea! Governments have responded with Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in countries such as Kenya. However, ineffective regulatory frameworks for enforcement, among other weaknesses, have diminished the success of many PPP ventures.