SA’s fuel king off to Sweden

2014-07-01 00:00

THE South African winner of the Volvo Truck Drivers’ Fuel Challenge 2014 has been announced.

Reggie Naidoo, an owner-driver of Hark Logistics in KwaZulu-Natal, proved to be the most fuel efficient driver during the final round of this prestigious competition, and is off to Sweden in September to represent South Africa in the World Finals. Second place went to Tshepo Leshope of Willowton Logistics, followed by Willem Briedenham of Leon van Vuuren Bulk Logistics.

“I am really ecstatic by this win,” said Naidoo. “Being part of this competition has really given me a lot of confidence in my abilities and it is wonderful to be recognised in this way. I truly appreciate everything Volvo Trucks has done, going all out to invest in truck drivers, their safety and their development. I am very proud and looking forward to representing South Africa in Sweden later on this year.”

This is the first time that Volvo Trucks has hosted the competition in South Africa, and 10 finalists were selected after three gruelling regional rounds. Truck drivers were evaluated using Volvo Trucks’ innovative Dynafleet fleet management system, which not only tracked their actual fuel consumption but also other fuel-affecting driver behaviour such as anticipation, braking, as well as engine and gearbox utilisation.

The testing, done in new Volvo FH 440s with a load of 26 tons, was also conducted in realistic conditions in which the drivers had to maintain productivity and showed how they would utilise the truck in a safe and responsible way.

“Fuel cost is a heavy burden for most haulage companies. However, an improved driving style can result in considerable cost savings. With the Drivers’ Fuel Challenge we wanted to highlight this fact and encourage truck drivers to adopt a more fuel-efficient way of driving,” said Philip Phasha, project manager for the Drivers’ Fuel Challenge 2014 in South Africa.

The potential benefits of driving in a fuel-efficient way are considerable. Volvo Trucks’ own research shows that by using accredited services for individual follow-ups on fuel consumption, together with driver training, it is possible to reduce fuel consumption by around 10%.

Globally, the Drivers’ Fuel Challenge has been hosted in different forms annually since 2009. Its popularity has grown since its inception and the most recent global competition in 2011 attracted around 3 600 participants from 22 countries. This is the first time that a South African driver has a guaranteed spot in the World Final in Sweden.

The Drivers’ Fuel Challenge World Final 2014, in which 25 of the world’s most fuel-efficient drivers will participate, will take place in Volvo’s hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden on September 19, 2014. — Supplied.

Manage fleet better

DYNAFLEET is a fleet-management system that helps drivers and transport companies utilise their fleets more efficiently. Dynafleet is currently available throughout Europe, Brazil, Australia and South Africa. At the time of writing, Dynafleet had more than 59 000 subscribers worldwide.

As part of its Dynafleet offering to FH truck owners, Volvo Trucks also recently introduced a new app for iPhone/iPad and Android users, whereby drivers can see for themselves how efficiently they drive, compare their performance with that of their colleagues and improve their driving techniques still further.

One of the app’s main functions — Fuel Efficiency Score — rates the driver’s performance in four areas that in various ways impact the truck’s fuel consumption, namely anticipation and braking, engine and gearbox utilisation, speed adaption, and standstill. The results are then collated to produce an overall score. The idea is to provide an incentive for a well-planned and safe driving style, one that gives low fuel consumption and low emissions and subjects the vehicle to less wear.

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