Dear IFRTT subscriber
I’m sure that the highlight in terms of heavy vehicles in South Africa during July was the two “Smart Truck” courses that were held in Pretoria and Cape Town earlier in the month. Les Bruzsa, Chief Engineer at the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) in Australia, and one of the PBS doyens in that country (and an IFRTT Board Member), was invited as a keynote speaker at the annual Southern Africa Transport Conference in Pretoria that was held from 4 – 7 July (www.satc.org.za). Initially it was decided to hold a half-day PBS seminar while he was in South Africa to facilitate the sharing of Les’ extensive knowledge and practical experience of PBS in Australia with a range of stakeholders in South Africa. After some interaction with Les, the proposed seminar was expanded to a 2-day PBS course with inputs from Les as well as local experts on the SA PBS pilot project. 80 delegates attended the two courses representing national and provincial government, consignors/consignees, transport operators as well as truck and trailer manufacturers. Feedback during and after the courses indicated that the event was very worthwhile to many delegates in terms of gaining a better understanding of the PBS approach to heavy vehicle design and operation and the potential significant safety, efficiency and environmental benefits. The PBS project in SA (currently 165 PBS vehicles) has now notched up over 70 million PBS vehicle kms with calculated savings (compared with baseline vehicles in all the PBS operators’ fleets) of 282 000 trips, 8.1 million litres of diesel and 21 000 tonnes of CO2. The crash rate is 70% less than that of the baseline vehicles. The range of commodities being transported has gradually broadened, and now, besides timber and mining products, includes processed sugar, cattle, fuel, passengers (bi-articulated bus) and, most notably, beer. Les and I spent a weekend in Cape Town and, because of the unusually perfect weather for this time of the year, were able to enjoy visits to a number of tourist attractions including Cape Point, Table Mountain, a couple of wine estates and the Franschhoek Motor Museum (see photos – unfortunately, not my collection of Ferraris).
I trust that most of you who had abstracts accepted for the HVTT14 conference in Rotorua, New Zealand, in November, are finalising your papers.
Up until a few weeks ago, we had been experiencing a fairly mild and pleasant winter. This changed when a significant cold front (originating from the southern Atlantic) resulted in widespread snowfalls in areas of the Eastern Cape province, including the closure of 10 mountain passes. (My brother enjoyed a 4-day skiing trip where the resort had over 1 metre of snow). However, warmer weather and spring are not far away.
Keep driving safety
IFRTT Vice-President: Africa