By Mpofu Sthandile

This Transport Month, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has strengthened its partnership with national and provincial government to invest in road safety initiatives, as well as its commitment towards carbon emission reduction.

CCBSA is in the middle of a five-year pilot Smart Truck Project, that was initiated in 2019, to run a 44-pallet Performance-Based Standard (PBS) trailer between Bloemfontein and Upington. The PBS trailer is 27.9 metres long and can transport 44 pallets, compared to the conventional 30-pallet trailer.

The Smart Truck Project aims to redesign PBS trailers to minimise damage, improve safety and to reduce congestion on the roads. This approach uses performance-based standards, which specify the performance required of a heavy vehicle on particular routes, bearing in mind both safety and the nature of the road infrastructure itself.

CCBSA and the Department of Transport, through the Arrive Alive campaign, has further launched a state-of-the-art simulator truck that aims to improve the competency levels of truck and bus drivers, as well as other public transport drivers.

This is just a few of the many transport and logistics innovations that CCBSA and the Department of Transport are developing to improve safety and productivity within South Africa’s logistics industry.

Ndanganeni Adjei, CCBSA Logistics Manager, said: “As a business, our primary aim is to support our route to market strategy and ensure exceptional customer service, while paying due regard to road safety. We are a major road user and to support our country’s efforts to road safety, we have integrated training in all our business operations to ensure we entrench a responsible mindset amongst our drivers and operators. This informs how we conduct ourselves on the road and we continuously put safety first, at all times.”

“But we also have a responsibility to create shared value for the business and the communities we serve across the value-chain through opportunities we create as we grow our business. Opportunity is more than just money, it’s about a better future for people and communities everywhere in SA.”

For any company to survive in the current environment, characterised by economic challenges and an increase in volatility in communities, it needs a comprehensive view of the environment it does business in. This includes relevant market targeting, driving efficiencies, paying due regard to the environment and ensuring profitability for its business and operators who enable companies to get to their customers. .

“We are proud of our Owner Driver Scheme which has been running for a long time and is an integral part of our business. This programme has enabled us to support the growth of operators who own their businesses and to support South Africa’s development mandate, where we provide previously disadvantage groups the economic opportunity to be part of the supply chain of a major industrial operation”, added Adjei.

Part of CCBSAs efforts to take the company’s products closer to their customers, includes the Local Distribution Partners (LDP) programme which allows the company to reach its customers in townships and rural areas. Working closely with the LDPs, CCBSA has ensured smoother delivery and enhanced customer service, and has also created much needed opportunities for entrepreneurs. “Ninety percent of LDPs are from previously disadvantaged groups. Not only do LDPs create work opportunities for themselves, they employ drivers, crew, and warehouse staff from local communities. In a country like ours, every opportunity for job creation should be nurtured”, noted Adjei.

“Our efforts and innovations are driven by a recognition that for as long as we have our fleet of trucks moving across the country, we carry a joint duty and responsibility to support government in managing road congestion,” said Adjei. “We continuously think of ways to run our business more efficiently and this includes how we get our product to customers safely and on time.”

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