Ed's letter (October edition)

Cool heads will prevail

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Welcome to another edition of South Africa’s premier trucking publication. It’s been a whirlwind couple of months since the last time we touched base with our loyal readers, with talk of a global recession, on the back of optimism for African development, and trucking has been at the forefront of that.

Stock market ups and downs are nothing new, and are quite natural. Nothing ever happens in a straight line in life, so don’t be alarmed. This is the best time to cash in on stocks that may be slightly cheaper than they were 6 to 12 months ago. Indeed, there is opportunity within the gloom.

The trucking industry has felt the pinch over the last six months, with only the extra heavies and light commercial trucks showing positive balance sheets. Driving to the Garden Route from Cape Town recently I was heartened by the number of brand new extra heavies on the road.

However, both the N1 and N2 need to be made into dual carriageways sooner rather than later. This would improve safety with everybody driving in the same direction, while cutting down on congestion time. It’s a big job that would take many years to complete, but if you look overseas in Europe and the States they would not dream of having a single lane national highway.

Fuel has been another talking point of late, with 50% of company’s logistics cost being used there. It will be telling for South African company’s which way the price goes in the coming months, with instability in the Middle East a cause for concern.

Fracking may be an answer to your energy needs, but this comes with a lot of environmental baggage. The Karoo cannot afford to have its underground water contaminated, which would have dire consequences for locals who get precious little rain water. All the fuel in the world can’t replace a finite water source.

On a more positive note, preparations for Road Ahead’s flagship transport security conference and exhibition in February next year at Spier, called Critical Mass, is well and truly underway, with some of the finest minds from the greater South African logistics industry already confirmed as speakers.

So here’s to a productive and safe remainder of the year, happy trucking.

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