Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  17 Nov 2010

LOGISTICS: Fast ‘n Fresh Takes on the ‘Best Of the Best’


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Pieter Adriaanse, a driver at Imperial Logistics member company, Fast ‘n Fresh went up against Europe’s top drivers at the 8th FleetBoard Drivers League or ‘TRUCKERMANIA’, an annual international economical driving competition.

South Africa’s top two drivers competed in the final, that entailed a 60km tour on Germany’s public roads and a timed drive in a Zetos off-road vehicle, which saw Adriaanse placed 16th overall.

This year, South Africa competed in the Daimler hosted competition for the first time, going up against Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, UK, Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic and Romania. In the South African leg of the competition, eight Fast ‘n Fresh drivers finished in the top 10 and 12 in the top 15.

“Pieter’s achievement and those of the 350 drivers who competed in the South African stage is important. It proves that many of South Africa’s truck drivers have world-class skills that can positively impact safety on our roads and contribute to ensuring supply chain compliance,” says Abrie de Swardt, IMPERIAL Logistics Marketing Director.

Drivers were rated on factors such as preventative driving style, speed change and braking behaviour, all of which counted towards the ‘economical handling of the truck’. The competition was also a test of sportsmanship.

De Swardt asks, “Does skills development need high level attention from government? Yes. But it also needs business to push progress where it matters. In this case, it is on the road,” adding that long-term, practical training solutions are imperative to develop human capital in a sustainable way.

When it comes to addressing skills shortages, business has a leading role to play in building the skills base on a practical level. For example, the Imperial Logistics Driver Academy does continuous in-house driver training and through Driver Learnerships, unemployed learners can obtain their Code EC license after which they can complete their National Certificate in Professional Driving modules.

The Academy recently trained 25 ex Army members to be Code EC drivers, providing them with employment within the Group thereafter.

In the transportation environment, economical driving is critical. Not only does it ensure cost savings for companies, but it provides ‘green’ benefits through the reduction of harmful CO₂ emissions. According to the FleetBoard Drivers’ League, “The increasingly high performances at the top of the ranking lists show that more and more drivers and companies are concerned with the consequent implementation of driving styles that protect our resources.”

Adriaanse, who took second place in South Africa to come out tops against the ‘best of the best’ says, “In my job, I need top driving skills. By taking part in this international competition, I have tested my skills and learnt where I need to improve.”

“If South African youth understands the central role that logistics and transportation, in particular plays in moving our economy, we will begin to attract this critical next generation to our industry. We can leverage success stories such as Pieter’s to teach and inspire not only today’s but tomorrow’s workforce,” concludes de Swardt.

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