As one of the most important economic centres in South Africa, Cape Town is a crucial area for freight and logistics companies to focus on when looking to improve their cost-effective truck driver operations.
What strategies can companies in this industry implement to maximise their truck drivers’ abilities and develop more efficient and cost-effective road freight and logistics operations in Cape Town?
Read on to learn more about the essential costs and challenges associated with truck driver operations in Cape Town, as well as strategies to overcome them.
Costs Associated With Truck Driver Operations
The primary cost associated with truck driver operations is the truck drivers themselves. The truck drivers’ salary, insurance fees and other benefits must be considered when calculating the overall cost of truck driver operations. The process of hiring, screening, training and onboarding drivers can also be expensive and time-consuming, adding additional expenses to the overall budget if done in-house.
Another cost associated with truck driver operations is fuel expenses. Fuel prices in South Africa are subject to domestic and global market fluctuations, so freight and logistics companies must factor this into their truck driver operations budget. The country is currently facing high fuel costs, contributing to the overall cost of truck driver operations and negatively impacting trucking businesses’ profit margins.
Finally, truck maintenance and repair costs must also be considered when calculating the cost of truck driver operations in Cape Town. These costs can add up quickly, so trucking companies need to plan, budget accordingly, and keep a close eye on truck maintenance schedules to ensure their truck drivers can operate safely and efficiently in the region.
The costs of Cape Town port delays
A new report released by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the Western Cape revealed that the busy Port of Cape Town moved around R210 billion worth of imports and exports in 2021. According to the findings, the port handles 18–20% of South African port container volumes. In 2021, 52% of all Western Cape exports were exported via the Port of Cape Town, adding up to a figure of R86.482 billion.
The study’s main goal was to map the container truck logistics chain to identify critical points of congestion and their corresponding fundamental causes, as well as to calculate the costs of congestion and identify opportunities for improvement.
The cost of truck delays for all truck owners at the container terminals is, on average, R330 000 per day, with the leading causes of truck delays including:
- Wind/weather gate closure (30%)
- Gate closure and shift changes (9%)
- Stack congestion and IT system failure (4%)
- Unexplained delays, which included terminal capacity limitations (57%).
While truck drivers cannot control environmental or technological factors, they control their driving behaviour. The truck driver’s ability to drive safely and efficiently minimises truck delays at the port and other trucking destinations.
Strategies to Maximise Truck Driver Performance
Trucking companies can implement various strategies to maximise their truck drivers, reduce costs, and develop more cost-effective road freight and logistics operations in Cape Town.
Employ experienced truck drivers for hire
By opting to outsource truck driver staffing instead of recruiting and training them in-house, companies can save time and money while benefitting from the truck drivers’ experience and overall expertise. Hiring experienced truck drivers can also help companies minimise training costs and offer a more reliable service to their customers while remaining flexible to adjust their staffing needs when needed.
For example, temporary staffing solutions are a cost-effective way to meet seasonal spikes in demand without committing to a long-term contract. Furthermore, by contracting out their truck drivers, companies can more easily adjust the size of their workforce according to the changing demands of their industry.
Additionally, truck drivers for hire can also help reduce the administrative costs associated with the recruitment process, such as background and reference checks. Payroll is another area in which companies can save money by outsourcing truck drivers for hire, as this eliminates the need to provide benefits such as retirement plans.
By leveraging technology, freight and logistics companies can monitor truck driver performance in real-time, create more efficient routes, automate the billing process, and manage truck maintenance schedules. This can help overcome the challenges discussed above regarding truck delays at ports, primarily caused by a lack of data and end-to-end supply chain oversight.
For example, real-time tracking technologies allow companies to monitor shipments continuously, anticipate risks and delays, and prepare for potential complications. Trucking and logistics tools can reduce operational costs, optimise operations, and ensure a better customer experience when used correctly and in alignment with all stakeholders in the supply chain.
Train your truck driver
Regular training sessions for truck drivers on safe driving techniques and fuel efficiency strategies can help reduce fuel expenses as well as ensure compliance with safety regulations. When implementing a training program, it is crucial to focus on the fundamentals, such as defensive driving and vehicle inspections.
Specific trucks require the relevant licensing to operate, and it is important to ensure that all drivers have the correct licenses for the vehicles they drive. For example, Hazchem drivers must hold a valid dangerous goods driver’s license and be aware of the laws pertaining to transporting hazardous materials. Companies cannot understate the value of licensing, experience and risk mitigation in an industry where mistakes can have serious financial consequences.
Regular training sessions can also help reduce the number of accidents caused by inexperienced or poorly trained drivers while increasing overall road safety. These sessions should cover essential topics such as safe loading and unloading, vehicle maintenance, road rules and regulations, customer service, fatigue management, and other safety-related matters.
Optimise truck maintenance
Taking a preventative approach to truck maintenance helps ensure that truck drivers are operating vehicles in optimal condition, minimising the potential for accidents and breakdowns. For example, performing regular oil changes, monitoring tire pressure and tread levels, checking engine fluids, and replacing worn-out parts can help keep trucks running correctly for longer.
Additionally, having a system in place to track and log maintenance records is essential for effective truck maintenance. This helps with scheduling regular maintenance checks and adhering to the service intervals recommended by the truck manufacturer, further minimising the chances of breakdowns, delays, and costly repairs.
By taking the necessary steps to hire experienced truck drivers, leverage technology, educate truck drivers and optimise truck maintenance schedules, trucking companies in Cape Town can reduce their overall operating costs while also developing more cost-effective road freight and logistics operations. Ultimately, this will result in improved efficiency and higher profits for trucking businesses in the region.
MASA is here to assist with the first step of sourcing and hiring drivers for hire, and we can do it in the most cost-effective way for your business. This is because MASA develops a tailored strategy to handle your company’s unique driving needs, supplying temporary or permanent drivers with the licensing and qualifications for the job.
We have regional offices in Cape Town, allowing us to leverage our local networks to source the best possible candidates. Contact MASA to get started and find out how MASA can help you save money while helping your trucking business succeed using the best truck drivers for hire in Cape Town.