Dear IFRTT subscriber
It seems that every time I start to write an IFRTT newsletter there is an international crisis reaching the daily headlines. Currently the Coronavirus is of great concern – besides the rapidly increasing number of daily fatalities & infections and the impact on the economies of several countries, China in particular, there is the uncertainty of when (surely not “and if”) the virus will be brought under control. The devastating fires in Australia are also tragic from a number of perspectives.
The weather in South Africa seems to be reasonably well-behaved at present; dam levels across the country are not critical but remain a concern at approximately 50%. Perhaps it is not the focus on water security but the focus on the importance of sustainability in transport that remains arguably low. An excerpt from the draft Green Transport Strategy for South Africa: “The Department of Transport is … committed to making a significant impact in reducing GHG emissions and contributing to the reduction of South Africa’s total GHG emissions by committing to a 5% reduction of emission in the transport sector by 2050.” Compare this 5% reduction target to the UK government which has legislated net zero emissions on all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 under the 2008 Climate Change Act. Although not reaching the daily headlines, global warming will become the next silent killer in the not too distant future if drastic action is not taken by the majority of large global economies as articulated by Prof Alan McKinnon at the 6th International Workshop on Sustainable Road Freight (SRF) held at Cambridge University on 5 & 6 Dec. The 7th SRF workshop will be held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, on 28 & 29 October 2020.
Small shifts in mindset are happening in South Africa with expert help from the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight in the UK assisting through the establishment of a Centre for Sustainable Road Freight South Africa (SRF-SA). The SRF-SA is still in its infancy and includes Wits University, Stellenbosch University, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). This is part of a global family being established, which to date includes the Smart Freight Vehicle and Green Logistics Centre in China which includes Tongji University (Shanghai), Jilin University (Changchun) and Zhejiang University (Hangzhou – home of Alibaba); and an Indian chapter which includes the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA).
The SRF-SA recently collaborated with Michelin, Iveco, Afrit (a local trailer company), Total and Lafarge to successfully illustrate the importance of correct tyre choice in reducing CO2 emissions. The SRF Loggers and expertise from Cambridge University and the SRF-UK were extremely useful. The test track results at 80 km/h showed that low-rolling resistance tyres can reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption by 8-10%. Michelin made an excellent professional video of the tests which is worth viewing.
We’ve missed the 31 Jan deadline to be able to say “Compliments of the New Year”, but on behalf of the IFRTT, we wish you a successful and rewarding 2020.
And drive safely
Paul Nordengen, IFRTT Vice-President: Africa
Frank Kienhöfer, IFRTT Board Member