MAN & Imperial Cargo hit a century
A delivery of 60 new TGS 26.440 BLS (LX) models brings Imperial Cargo’s MAN fleet to over 100, and with it a new benchmark in the company’s total cost-of-ownership figures.
Imperial Cargo is taking delivery of an additional 60 MAN TGS 26.440 BLS truck tractors for its line-haul operations in southern Africa. The new vehicles will join the 44 MAN TGS 26.440 BLS units already operating in Imperial Cargo colours, bringing the total of MAN vehicles in the fleet to over 100.
Geoff du Plessis, managing director of MAN Truck & Bus, handed over several of the new vehicles to Christo Theron, group managing director of the Imperial Cargo Group at a function held at the Nelson Wine Estate in Paarl Valley on November 14. The handover was attended by management, staff, suppliers and clients.
The 60 new trucks are expected to travel an average of 16 000 km per month. They were procured on a 36-month/600 000 km rental agreement, with the assistance of MAN Financial Services.
As a purpose-built, long-haul prime mover, the 6×4 MAN TGS 26.440 BLS is equipped with a 12,4-litre, in-line MAN D26 common-rail diesel engine with a power rating of 324 kW (440 hp) at 1 700 to 1 900 r/min, and a torque output of 2 100 Nm at 1 000 to 1 400 r/min.
It boasts a double sleeper cab, automated manual transmission with a ZF intarder, air suspension and hypoid rear axles. Importantly, this brings with it safety, low emissions and an impressively low cost per kilometre (CPK).
Servicing blue-chip, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) clients like Distell, Woolworths and Nampak, Imperial Cargo’s line-haul operation extends across South Africa and Namibia. “Each truck carries a payload in the region of 36 t and the TGS strikes the perfect balance between power, tare mass and fuel economy, giving us new benchmark total-cost-of-ownership figures,” says Theron.
“The MAN TGS 26.440 BLS is the only derivative in our line-haul fleet achieving an average of two kilometres per litre (55,6 l/100 km), compared to an average 1,8 km per litre by competitor brands,” he adds.
Others, besides management and the accountants, are also delighted. “Our drivers say it’s the best truck in the fleet; it’s comfortable and easy to drive. They are quite reluctant to get behind the wheel of anything else,” notes Theron.
Imperial Cargo has its headquarters and three depots in the Western Cape with other depots in Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, the Eastern Cape and Namibia. Its cross-border services include freight transport to other sub-equatorial countries including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Botswana and Mozambique.
Du Plessis says: “A key objective of MAN in southern Africa is to gain market leadership in the long-haul sector by supplying fuel-efficient trucks that significantly lower total cost of ownership. The injection of 60 new MAN TGS 26.440 BLS derivatives into the Imperial Cargo fleet is testimony to the technological leadership of the vehicle.
“It is also extremely encouraging to know that, as an organisation committed to safety, quality and environmental protection, Imperial Cargo has found the MAN TGS more than capable of meeting its stringent criteria within these areas,” he says.
Imperial Cargo deployed its first MAN trucks in 2012, following successful in-fleet trials of the TGS 26.440 BLS. Theron stresses that the company runs rigid test programmes on all new trucks entering the fleet, primarily looking at fuel consumption figures. It wasn’t solely the cost of ownership, however, that persuaded the company to step up its MAN fleet.
“Apart from the impressive fuel-consumption figures, which have remained consistent over the last two years in our existing TGS fleet, the after-sales service we get from MAN’s Cape Town branch is exceptional. Response times are swift and monthly performance meetings between my team and MAN’s Cape Town branch ensure that we adhere to our service-level agreements,” says Theron. “On-site vehicle servicing by MAN technicians at our workshops keeps our uptime levels at an optimum.”
Warren Atkinson, key accounts manager: Cape Region, MAN Truck & Bus SA, says that the industry watchword remains true: “Our sales team sells the first unit – the workshop and after-sales service sells the rest.”
He confirms that service was a critical factor behind securing the order from Imperial Cargo. “As a quality-driven, RTMS-accredited fleet, Imperial Cargo requires hands-on service support and round-the-clock availability of MAN technical personnel; factors which are integral to our service level agreements. Our team at MAN Cape Town is fully geared to satisfy all Imperial’s requirements.”
Theron stresses that, while the handover was the highlight of the function, it was also a celebration of the relationship between the two companies, which is founded on trust, reliability and team support.
Du Plessis says that being chosen for superior technology and customer-focused after-sales service was hugely significant for MAN. “This order of 60 TGS units proves we have the right product for long-haul applications in southern Africa, as well as the right people to service the trucks and our customers in a manner that builds their business. All of us at MAN are proud to be associated with Imperial Cargo and we look forward to a partnership that continues to grow in strength.”