Dear IFRTT subscriber
In my last newsletter, in March 2018, I referred to the protest action (including the burning of trucks and looting of payloads) on some of the national highways in South Africa. Many of these actions were a means of expressing dissatisfaction with the employment of foreign drivers by SA transport companies. Unfortunately this form of protest action has continued on and off during the past year. In most cases, particularly during the past number of weeks, the protest action has been related to the dissatisfaction with service delivery by some local municipalities. In terms of transport efficiency, cost and safety, such protest action is very detrimental to the economy. General elections will be held in South Africa this coming Wednesday, 8 May, so hopefully such protest action will reduce considerably thereafter.
There is currently an EU-funded project underway in a large part of Africa, the Tripartite Transport & Transit Facilitation Programme (TTTFP), which primarily addresses the harmonisation of road user regulations in member countries. The Tripartite currently consists of 22 member countries stretching from Egypt to South Africa, but excluding West Africa. Topics being addressed include vehicle testing centres, driver testing and driver license cards. Earlier this year, a draft Model Law for Vehicle Load Management was circulated to participating countries for comment. The Model Law primarily addresses the harmonisation of means to regulate heavy vehicle loads by road authorities. Topics include accreditation and auditing of weigh stations, consequences of exceeding permissible maximum masses, abnormal (indivisible) loads and demerit points systems. Of particular interest is a section entitled “Performance-based Scheme”, which makes provision for the relevant Minister to introduce a scheme for High Capacity Vehicles (HCVs) based on certain requirements. Of course, the Model Law is at a very high level, and it is up to individual countries to decide whether and when to introduce such a scheme. However, the inclusion of the performance-based approach to heavy vehicle design and operation in the Model Law does give recognition to the importance of such an approach and I believe that in the long term, it will facilitate the possibility of HCVs that meet certain agreed performance standards to operate in various countries as well as on various Regional Corridors in Africa.
During February and March, the 59th and 60th RTMS/PBS awareness workshops were held in Johannesburg at the Head Offices of Coca Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) and Toyota SA respectively. The RTMS (Road Transport Management System) self-regulation accreditation scheme, which is based on the SA national standard, SANS 1395, now has over 17 000 participating heavy vehicles, including some 2 500 buses. At the 60th workshop, Toyota Hino was presented with a special award in recognition of their ongoing support of the RTMS/PBS workshops over the past 10 years. At the 59th workshop, RTMS certificates were awarded to six companies, including CCBSA (with approx. 840 trucks including their owner driver fleet) and a number of smaller emerging operators. Given the context of high levels of non-compliance in the heavy vehicle sector in many developing countries (speeding, overloading, lack of vehicle servicing & maintenance, poor driver health and inadequate driver training), one of the identified benefits of the RTMS has been to provide a best practice framework for emerging operators as a basis for developing a sustainable business based on sound fleet management principles. This has become more evident through the case studies presented by smaller operators at the RTMS workshops (see rtms-sa.org/presentation)
The RTMS NPC recently signed an agreement with the Smart Freight Centre (based in Amsterdam) to promote and present their Smart Transport Manager’s Training (STMT) course in South Africa. The first two 2-day courses were presented during the week of 8 April in Johannesburg with a total of 27 delegates attending. The aim of the course is to share good practice with fleet managers regarding ways to reduce vehicle emissions. Focus areas include fuel management, driver skills, vehicle specification and maintenance, performance monitoring and utilising technology. Feedback from the delegates was well above expectation. The STMT course is planned to be presented in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg during the second half of 2019.
The effect of climate change continues to be evident on the African continent. Cyclone Idai that hit Beira in Mozambique on 14 March causing catastrophic flooding and over 700 deaths can most certainly be regarded as an extreme weather event. During the second half of April, severe flooding occurred in Durban with 70 people losing their lives.
We are well into autumn in South Africa. Last weekend I spent 2 nights in Clarens, a quaint town near Lesotho and the Drakensberg mountains, where the minimum temperature was 3°C. However in Johannesburg and Pretoria the temperatures are currently ranging between about 10 and 26°C.
All the best and drive safely
IFRTT Vice-President: Africa