Thunderbirds are almost a go!
Truck Test 2012 is going to be fascinating for so many reasons particularly since it will provide data on the actual real-life performance of trucks.
A conversation at last year’s Road Freight Association Conference in Gaborone sparked the idea for Truck Test 2012. “A prominent figure in the industry said ‘I think it’s time for another truck test’,” says Fritz Hellberg of Hellberg Transport Management (HTM), chief organiser of Truck Test 2012.
The remark unleashed a train of thoughts in Hellberg’s head: “The recession seemed to be over; truck availability is probably better now than it was in the overheated market of the pre-recession years; a whole lot of new vehicle makes have entered the heavy end of the market in recent years and might want to be showcased to the industry; and the world is much more environmentally orientated now, the trucking industry included … all these thoughts added together told me yes, it probably is time.”
Having been involved with the truck tests Vic Oliver conducts for FOCUS magazine, Hellberg’s next step was to discuss the prospect with the magazine’s editor, Charleen Clarke. “She enthusiastically welcomed the idea,” says Hellberg, adding that Engen undertook to sponsor all fuel for the test that same evening.
Karen Smith, Engen Diesel Club/eFuel marketing manager, says the company leapt at the chance to support Truck Test 2012. “It’s the perfect way to show our support for the industry – an industry that buys almost half its fuel requirements from us!” she says. Engen believes the dedication and support of the OEMs, organisers and sponsors will contribute to safer, greener trucking in South Africa.
Ctrack also grabbed the opportunity to be involved through its sponsorship of tracking equipment for the event. “The test is based on a route that is used on a weekly basis,” says Eugene van Niekerk, senior business consultant at Ctrack. “It presents an excellent opportunity for the industry to establish performance benchmarks based on the real-life operation of trucks and trailers.”
Van Niekerk believes the event will add value to the sector since manufacturers will be able to see how their performance measures up against their own manufacturer claims as well as industry benchmarks – which will be done using the company’s telematics technology. “Because Ctrack feels so strongly about this event, we offered to sponsor all the telematics technology, including hardware and software, for the monitoring and reporting of the vehicles’ performance,” says Van Niekerk.
Active involvement with manufacturers and industry suppliers has helped make Ctrack one of the leading fleet solutions providers in the world. “The better we understand the operating environment of our customers, the better the solutions we can provide,” says Van Niekerk. “We strive to have healthy relationships with all our customers, and an event such as Truck Test allows us to confirm our commitment to providing leading edge technology solutions to the industry.”
Hellberg points out that the event isn’t a competition. It’s a test that will produce meaningful information. For starters, it will practically demonstrate how fuel efficiency has developed in recent times – with, for example, vehicles with Euro 2 specifications running alongside vehicles with Euro 4 and Euro 5 engines. “It will also demonstrate concepts such as performance-based vehicle design standards and the benefits of substantially improved aerodynamics of rigs.”
Hellberg adds that each rig will even be able to further prove itself against simulations created using TransSolve Vehicle Performance software. “This software, which is now widely used and trusted throughout the industry, can accommodate all factors that affect a vehicle’s performance,” says Hellberg.
The test begins on Saturday, May 19, when participants will drive from Johannesburg to Durban. The trucks will repeat the journey in reverse on Tuesday, May 22.
The route features diverse topography – from the virtually flat road between Johannesburg and Harrismith to the steep up and down of Van Reenen’s Pass, and everything in between, says Hellberg. “The route will also be broken up into sections to show the effect of topography on vehicle performance in terms of trip time, fuel consumption and so on.”
Monitoring of the vehicles – before, during and at the end of the runs – is divided into four categories:
• Pre-test checks to verify stock-standard specifications and mass legalities;
• Physical monitoring while travelling;
• Tracking-equipment monitoring of adherence to speed limits, and to establish start and stop times in each route section; and
• Flow-meter monitoring of fuel usage at the end of both the down and the up run.
This year, it has been decided that only 6×4 prime movers coupled to semi-drawbar- or interlink trailers will participate. Each entrant will decide on the configuration of their choice and will supply the whole rig complete with a load. The vehicles or rigs will be standard off-the-shelf units, and fully legal.
For more about Truck Test 2012 – one of the biggest events on the transport industry calendar this year – take a look at Charleen Clarke’s Steering Column in the February and March 2012 editions of FOCUS.
Brighter shades of green all ’round please!
We all want a greener planet, but green is the traditional colour of money too – and both topics are high on the agenda at this year’s Road Freight Association (RFA) Convention, which takes place at Zimbali in KwaZulu-Natal from May 20 to 22.
The year 2012 arrived with a greater appreciation of the need for a greener planet – and what better place to pay tribute to the planet than the 700 breathtaking hectares of Zimbali? Situated on a pristine stretch of the Dolphin Coast, this is a place of expansive beauty, endowed with lush vegetation and abundant wildlife. Located 45 km north of Durban and close to a variety of modern facilities, Zimbali has practical benefits too. The aim is to bring truckers together to express their views, work on finding solutions, have a little fun, relax and enjoy the hospitality of the pristine Zimbali Coastal Resort.
The conference will address diverse matters affecting the road freight industry – and is committed to identifying ways in which contentious issues such as infrastructure funding, punitive taxes and prohibitive legislation can be proactively tackled.
The programme includes:
• Keynote address by Jeremy Cronin, deputy transport minister;
• Business and trade’s influence on government decisions;
• Green options for the trucking industry;
• The Green Wave Effect;
• Panel discussion on carbon taxes;
• The National Treasury’s view on road infrastructure funding;
• Panel discussion on funding models, including the “User Pay” model for the funding of road infrastructure; and
• The implementation and roll-out of AARTO.
A new addition emanating from last year’s Convention, Truck Test 2012, takes place alongside this year’s event. “The results of the Johannesburg to Durban run will be announced at our Trucker’s Lunch function,” says Sharmini Naidoo, CEO of the RFA.
“In partnership with FOCUS magazine, Engen, Ctrack and Hellberg Transport Management, Truck Test 2012 will provide invaluable data on the performance of trucks in a controlled environment that can be incorporated into day-to-day operations as benchmarks. We are extremely excited about Truck Test 2012 and hope to see more in the future.”