Setting new standards in Timber Transport

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Transportation and logistics in the timber industry naturally demands a consistently high level of attention to detail and extensive planning, management, and monitoring. When it comes to choosing the correct truck for the job

For example, a thorough understanding of the industry landscape and requirements is needed. If we take a closer look at this, there are two main factors involved when choosing a particular brand of truck for use in the timber industry. These trucks operate in an extremely tough and challenging environment, loading in field, and it is essential that the correct truck be selected for the job.

The first element is to match the correct truck to the main application, and the second element is around the total cost of ownership. In other words, it is not only about the purchase price of the truck, but the ongoing cost of running that truck for the duration of its useful life. One therefore needs to take into account the residual value, input costs (fuel consumption, repairs and maintenance), the relationship with the supplier of the truck, their dealer network and after-sales support.

Technology: Smart Trucks

Technology is playing a critical role in increasing efficiency and payload capacity. By way of example, Barloworld Transport is participating in the groundbreaking Smart Truck Project that is being spearheaded by the CSIR. This initiative is exploring the advantages of an approach based on performance-based standards (PBS): standards specify the performance required from the operation of a vehicle on a network, rather than prescribing how the specified level of performance is to be achieved. This approach allows more flexibility for vehicle designers to utilise innovative solutions and the latest available technology to meet the required performance standards with improved safety outcomes and more effective use of the road infrastructure.

The PBS approach also allows a more optimum “match” between the PBS vehicle and the road infrastructure (roads and bridges) that it uses. The application of performance-based standards in the heavy vehicle sector in South Africa was identified by the CSIR as a research area warranting Parliamentary Grant funding because of the potential benefits in terms of transport efficiency, road/vehicle safety and the protection of road infrastructure.

As part of the PBS research programme, a need was identified to design, manufacture and operate a number of PBS demonstration projects in South Africa in order to gain practical experience in the performance-based standards approach for heavy vehicles and to quantify and evaluate the potential safety and productivity benefits of this approach for road freight transport. There have been a number of very successful Smart Truck projects that have yielded significant benefits, including reduced road wear (damage) per ton of payload; reduced traffic volumes (fewer trips) improved fuel efficiency; reduction in emissions, reduction in fleet size; and safer vehicles (reduced crash rates when compared to baseline vehicles).

During 2013, the 60 Smart Truck demonstration vehicles in the forestry and mining industries achieved the following:

• A reduction of 59 400 trips

• A savings of 1.24 million litres of diesel representing a 14% improvement in fuel efficiency

• A reduction of 3 250 tons of CO2 emissions

• 36% less crashes per million kms than the baseline vehicles

• A reduction in road wear of up to 50% compared with baseline vehicles

Route Planning

In the timber industry, the plantations predetermine routes. However, we make use of MAX (a web based transport management and execution software tool) that uses satellite tracking data together with real time operational information and automated reporting to manage all aspects of timber transport from plantation to mill. This software is unique to Barloworld Transport.

Risk Management

We take risk management and safety very seriously, and realise that this element is critical to the success of our business. We make use of the latest technology, using Mix Telematics, Drivecam and Drive Smart, among other tools, to monitor and score drivers on an ongoing basis. We also have a comprehensive Wellness programme in place that seeks to cater for all aspects of wellbeing (physical and psychological).

The RTMS programme is a major component of our approach to risk management. RTMS is an industry-led, government-supported, voluntary, self-regulation scheme that encourages consignees, consignors and road transport operators to implement a management system that demonstrates compliance with the Road Traffic Regulations. RTMS contributes to preserving road infrastructure, improving road safety, ensuring driver health and wellness and increasing productivity.

Since the commencement of the RTMS project, various data sets have been collected in order to monitor trends and make comparisons with baseline data. The case studies show that significant benefits both to the road authorities and the transport industry have been achieved since the inception of the scheme. Indicators that have been monitored include overloading, speeding, traffic infringements crash rates, roll-overs, fuel efficiency and tyre wear.

There has been growing adoption of RTMS by a wide range of stakeholders over the years, with increasing momentum. To date, 132 have adopted RTMS within their businesses and this equates to 6294 vehicles which now fall under self-regulation on our roads. This increasing momentum is due to the fact that companies who have embraced RTMS have experienced significant improvements in compliance and safety performance.

There have been numerous success stories of RTMS certified companies achieving reduction in overloading, improved fleet availability (reduced down-time), reduction in crash/incident rates and improved compliance (fewer speed exceptions/traffic violations/driving hour violations). Some major consignors such as Exxaro Coal, Mondi, SAPPI, BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Eskom are actively promoting RTMS to transporter operators as a result.

                                                                                                                                                                         Neil Henderson



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Issue 68


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