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Local truck company tipping the scales in favour of progress

TIPPER TRUCK The tipper fleet consists of side tipper links with the state-of-the-art lightweight design that are capable of super payloads up to 40 t

TIPPER TRUCK The tipper fleet consists of side tipper links with the state-of-the-art lightweight design that are capable of super payloads up to 40 t

26th August 2022

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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While this is naturally a loss for South Africa and a dent to its ego, companies that have already made the move say it has been rewarding. The Mozambican port of Maputo is fast gaining a reputation as an efficient and reliable alternative to South Africa’s Durban harbour.

Specialised transport services group Jacobs Transport was founded by brothers Gys and Jan Jacobs in 1999, when they saw a gap in the market and instinctively knew they could do a better job. It is the same intuition that has led them to turn their trucks eastwards – towards Maputo.

“The biggest opportunities for the road freight industry are being the first to adapt to new situations or threats,” explains Jacobs Transport GM Billy Meysel.

For example, the volatile and criminalised route to Durban, in KwaZulu-Natal, has forced goods and freight to be moved through different ports such as Maputo, using the Komatipoort corridor.

“The first transporters that are able to do so reliably will generally benefit; we have started doing loads on this route,” he tells Engineering News & Mining Weekly.

South Africa, once viewed as Africa’s gate way to the world because of its hub access to air and sea freight, is losing this key position, owing to crumbling infrastructure and violent protests, such as the All Truck Driver’s Forum (ATDF) that constantly disrupt the logistic flow between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. The ATDF has been responsible for blocking the N3 toll road on numerous occasions and setting trucks alight as they demand an end to the employment of “foreign” truck drivers and more pay for their local brethren.

Logistics parastatal Transnet, which is responsible for South Africa’s rail and port operations, is facing severe problems, with its rail infrastructure in dire straits and its port operations ranked among the world’s worst. A 2020 World Bank report on container port performances placed the Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Ngqura ports, all managed by Transnet, in the bottom five out of a list of 351 global ports. To put this into perspective, all other African ports, such as Lagos, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Maputo, Beira, Walvis Bay and Dakar, ranked well above South Africa.

“There is a simple method to penalise inefficiency – loss of income. Transnet just adds to their own woes and transporters’ rates keep going up to cater for the delays. Eventually, the situation becomes so untenable, so dammed up, that freight start moving elsewhere,” Meysel says.

Jacobs Transport has further trusted its now renowned intuition, and used the instability of the Covid-pandemic years to expand its brand. The company introduced its tipper fleet during these unstable times and found an eager and receptive marketplace – again taking advantage of the gap left by failing parastatal Transnet.

Mining companies are increasingly resorting to trucking commodities, bypassing the deteriorating rail infrastructure, which has cost the country billions in lost export revenue amid a high commodity price cycle.

“With our tipper division, we can transport chrome, manganese, magnetite, iron-ore, and pig iron. Our tipper fleet consists of side tipper links with the state-of-the-art lightweight design that is capable of super payloads up to 40 t,” Jacobs Transport CRM/marketing coordinator Lee-Anne Courvoisier explains.

In keeping with its advanced technology strategy, each one of its vehicles is fitted with four live cameras, as well as a telematics tracking system that ensures that its operators always remain in control of the fleet.

“We can provide our customers with secure, efficient logistics. This has made us a valuable logistics service provider with a good name to large mines and contractors throughout South Africa,” she says.

Starting with only one used crane truck, 22 years ago, Jacobs Transport has grown its fleet to more than 90 trucks and 120 trailers. The company is constantly rejuvenating its fleet of vehicles and equipment, which includes crane trucks up to 165 t/m, truck tractors with flat deck and drop sides, red seal riggers, vehicle-mounted cranes and vehicles for dangerous goods and abnormal loads.

Not only is this comprehensive fleet enhanced by a pool of carefully selected and highly skilled drivers and crew, but it is also supported by dedicated vehicle maintenance and breakdown assistance. A fuel management system, key repair and maintenance scheduler are also on hand, Courvoisier says.

She adds that the company prides itself on providing a complete logistics solution, including services from the handling (in and out), in-bond transport and in-bond storage of industrial products. Jacobs Transport is not only able to transport its client’s cargo to and from the port, but is also able to de-stuff, de-crate, pre-assemble and store the items until the client’s site is completed, whereafter the items will be rigged into their final position.

The group’s forklifts are equipped with low masts to ensure easy access, enabling the forklift to drive into containers to assist with the packing and unpacking/destuffing containers in preparation for the port.

The firm’s warehouse facilities are equipped with overhead cranes to accommodate the handling and assembly of heavy machinery, containers, and cargo.

Courvoisier notes that the company is certified to transport hazardous chemicals and military equipment and has its own in-house safety, health, and environment (SHE) manager. All its trucks are mine- compliant, with the SHE manager ensuring that safety files are up to date.

Outside Stand P90

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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