Foreword - May

Letters from America

Tony 1.jpg

Looking at the differences in the heavy transport industry between South Africa (SA) and the States is something to behold. In the States the number of heavy transport carriers has grown by nearly 160 000 vehicles in 10 years to a staggering 810 000 vehicles (unofficially) in 2015.

This is determined by the Department of Transport (DOT)’s heavy transport authorisation number issued to carriers. Compare this to SA’s recent figures of heavy vehicle sales from January to March 2016 being 1 306 for the year so far.

So what am I trying to say: Well who knows, the facts are more and more distributors are looking to the heavy transport industry for transport solutions and with the market being so competitive and the basic costs of transport going up, a decision has to be made. Do you sacrifice on quality and income and undercut the market or do you stick to your guns and hope that your current service to your clients is good enough to retain and secure future business.

It has got to the point in the States that a distributor will gladly switch out his transporter because someone else has offered them a reduction in transport cost. When I say reduction it could be as little as $2.

So what is the way forward, you ask? Well I am glad you did. Start cleaning house, start making sure that you have the right team in place to ensure that there is no question about quality of service and costings of transport. Drivers, operations staff, sales and front-end staff, the management, the whole house needs to be looked at. If it means you have to look at your current service providers and discuss pricing reductions on bulk fuel or logistics management (tracking, loading and routing management), then do it.

The transport industry worldwide is seeing an increase in load theft. For example, the US is seeing a gradual increase in load thefts at the truck stops. Hijackings are starting to become a serious issue in the States now. “So what, SA has been in a head lock for years now”, you might say.

Well it’s true. SA has been in trouble for a while, we have tried to look at solutions for hijackings and thefts and all we can do is rely on the law enforcement officials and tracking companies to assist in curbing the issue. 

Is this effective? Are you getting the results you need? Each company will spout facts and figures ensuring recovery rates and so on … but at the end of the day, it boils down to what works for your company or vehicles.

Security expert and owner of One-stop group, Tony Dobson, writing from the USA, more in the next edition of SA's favourite trucking magazine

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