Not trailing behind

Above: Serco and Imperial Logistics Refrigerated Services are continuing their 15-year relationship.

There is much happening in the trailer industry at the moment, specifically regarding the ability to load them. FOCUS explores.

The first quarter of the year has seen new entrants to the trailer market, the formation of joint ventures and more happy customers taking to the streets with their shiny new vehicles.

Entering the market is Modena-based Italian aluminium ramp manufacturer CLM. The company has appointed Johannesburg-based Aluminium Loading Systems as its importer and distributor for the sub-Saharan African region.

Aluminium Loading Systems director, Deryck Jordan, says that the ramps are made of exceptionally high-strength and light-weight aluminium. “This is a very important consideration in the transport industry, because of its influence on a carrier’s payload.

“Essentially, any market sector involved in the loading and unloading of machines or transport of goods will have a demand for these loading ramps. This includes, but is definitely not limited to, industries such as construction equipment and mining as well as logistics and machine rental companies,” he notes.

In addition to minimal impact on payload, the light weight of the ramps means they can be manually lifted onto and off the carrier and easily placed into position, eliminating the need for special lifting equipment.

The design of the ramps features an exclusive double T-section – a unique feature that creates a very small surface, which guarantees the highest bending strength from the least weight.

The comprehensive Aluminium Loading Systems portfolio comprises more than 300 standard design types. All CLM products have a one-year warranty.

Moving on to the lifting arena, Skyjacks Tailifts and Ratcliff Tailifts recently announced they have entered into a joint venture, which will effectively combine 60 years of tailift knowledge, research and development, and manufacture.

Light and strong, CLM aluminium ramps are now available locally.Warwick van Breda, MD at Skyjacks Tailifts, says the companies’ directors believe this joint venture will ensure the survival and growth of the South African-manufactured tailift. “Our combined existing customer bases, as well as potential new customers, will benefit significantly from the pooled customer support that will provide both on- and off-site support for all brands of tailift.”

A single manufacturing facility at SkyPark, in Anderbolt Extension, Boksburg, has been purpose-built for the companies’ manufacture, servicing and fitment of tailifts.

Imperial Logistics Refrigerated Services (ILRS) recently took delivery of 35 Serco refrigerated semi-trailers, the bulk of which will be used to service a large deal recently won with a frozen vegetable producer, while three will operate in Namibia to distribute goods to new food stores recently opened in the country by Woolworths.

With a 15-year relationship between the two companies, this order was only confirmed during the middle of November 2014, thus requiring intensive planning and commitment from Serco to deliver as required.

“That we were awarded the entire order and Imperial didn’t split it between two or three suppliers was a huge coup for us,” says Serco MD, Clinton Holcroft. “Our relationship goes back a long way and we are proud to be Imperial’s preferred supplier for new refrigerated trailer requirements.”

All of the trailers are fitted with aluminium rims, Electronic Braking Systems, stainless-steel lockable door gears, and air-ride suspension. Four of the trailers are fitted with Thermo King multi-temperature units that enable goods to be transported in different compartments at different temperatures. The balance of the trailers are standard single-temperature cooling units.

In a bid to reduce its carbon footprint, Imperial has had two of the trailers fitted with Serco’s aerodynamic side skirts. It will monitor the fuel consumption on these vehicles and compare it with that of the others in the fleet.

What’s happening in Europe?

With 77 percent of all goods in Europe moved by road (and most of it transported on a trailer), automotive and transport consulting group Clear International has issued a new report forecasting the demand for heavy-goods trailers in Western Europe for the next few years.

In 2014, the Western European trailer market saw an increase of 14,8 percent over the previous year. The United Kingdom (UK) and Germany both saw their markets increase by 5 000 units. Demand in Spain, France and the Netherlands was up by more than 2 000 units.

Clear cites the UK as being interesting – its trailer market increased by 27 percent to an all-time record level, but its market for heavy trucks fell by 29 percent. “This can be explained by the gross indulgence in Euro-5 trucks at the end of 2013 leading to a loss of truck appetite in 2014. In 2015 we can expect the UK trailer market to fall as the demand for trucks revives,” the agency notes.

Clear’s theory is that the gloom and doom of recent months has been overdone and that confidence in the European economy will return in 2015, leading to substantial growth in the trailer market in 2016.

Gary Beecroft, managing director of Clear, says: “Trailer production, having fallen by 8,7 percent from the 2011 level, increased by 12,9 percent in 2014. However, 10 000 trailers have been wiped from the forecast, mainly as a consequence of the conflict in Ukraine.”

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publication in southern Africa.
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