Barloworld takes delivery of record truck order

2014-06-06 00:00

IN an economy tottering on the brink of a recession, Barloworld Transport Solutions (BWTS) yesterday provided some good news by taking delivery of the first of 215 truck tractors at its Pietermaritzburg head office in a deal worth close to R300 million.

And BWTS is recruiting experienced link drivers across the country. In BWTS’s human resources office, James McKenzie said the logistics giant needs 700 drivers, 300 of them by November.

CEO of MAN Truck and Bus South Africa, Bruce Dickson said the order for 215 units of the MAN 4040 trucks was the biggest in 52 years.

Neil Henderson, CEO of BWTS, said the decision to order MAN’s TGS 26.4040 truck tractors was thoroughly researched after running month-long road tests to compare several competing trucks, but at the end it was the fact that the TGS is the drivers’ truck of choice that clinched the deal.

Henderson, who started Manline in 1985 with five MAN trucks, said the group had “bought the right vehicle in terms of a spreadsheet”, with 15 years of data and with it the knowledge that MAN also provides backing “in the good times and bad times that comes with trucking”.

BWTS was formed in January last year with the merger between the Dedicated Transport Services division of Barloworld Logistics and Manline Group.

The company currently employs 1 061 drivers and has set several international benchmarks by creating a driver career path, backed by a national certificate for drivers who complete BWTS’s in-house training courses.

Henderson told The Witness each driver was a huge asset to the company, with McKenzie adding that BWTS drivers were not just there to hold the steering wheel, but “were hugely important to interact with clients”.

MAN’s executive chairperson Geoff du Plessis is known for driving his company’s trucks at every opportunity. Asked to what he ascribed the the BWTS drivers liking of MAN trucks, he said the entire suspension system, from the wheels to the seat, had been set up to ensure that the driver does not get tired, even driving over the rough timber roads which BWTS subsidiary Timber 24 Solutions has to traverse. Inside the MAN 4040’s cab, two broad bunk beds also ensure comfort for the drivers who drive long cross-border trips to Zambia’s copper belt.

Neil Henderson, CEO of Barloworld Transport Solutions (BWTS).

Drivers wanted

BWTS needs 700 experienced drivers, but don’t bother applying unless you:

• are 23 years old or older;

• have two years’ experience driving links;

• have a valid professional driver’s permit;

• have a valid ID or working permits; and

• have been cleared or acquitted on criminal charges.

Drivers who pass muster at the gates, will have to do a reverse test in a link truck. Only seven percent of the applicants in KZN pass this test.

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