15 PBS vehicles take to the roads for Sappi

Timber Logistic Services is the first South African transport company to put a commercial fleet of 15 PBS vehicles on the road. These vehicles, which require special permission to operate from the Department of Transport and which carry a 20% bigger payload, will carry timber to the Sappi Saiccor mill at Umkomaas on the South Coast.

Sappi PBS vehicles

Celebrating the delivery of the first four PBS vehicles to the Timber Logistics depot at Umkomaas: Robbie van der Merwe, Mercedes Benz Commercial Vehicles Durban; Johan van de Wetering, MD Afrit Trailers; Hendrik de Jongh, MD Sappi Forests; Lyn Hunt, Operations Director Timber Logistics; Brian Hunt MD Timber Logistics shaking hands with Sappi Limited Group CEO Ralph Boëttger and Jan Labuschagne, CEO Sappi Southern Africa.

The first four PBS vehicles were unveiled at Timber Logistics' Umkomaas depot at a function in September. Eleven more PBS vehicles were scheduled for delivery to Timber Logistics during September and October.

The vehicles were developed in close collaboration between Sappi, Timber Logistics, Mercedes Benz, Afrit trailer manufacturers, the CSIR and the Department of Transport.

Two years ago Sappi and Mondi were each awarded one PBS vehicle permit to test the viability of the concept. Super Group operated the vehicle for Mondi, while Timber 24 operated the vehicle supplying Sappi.

Beyond efficiency gains and cost reduction, the PBS vehicle system focuses on improved road safety, driver wellness, road stability, reduced impact on roads and lower carbon emissions.

Hendrik pointed out the crucial role of the Road Transport Management System (RTMS) which has been responsible for reducing incidences of overloading among accredited timber hauliers to below 4%.

The PBS vehicle's trailer is built in South Africa by Afrit and the truck was supplied by Mercedes-Benz. The vehicle has a number of safety features including an underslung drawbar, a lower centre of gravity with air suspension and electronic brake control.

Published in September/October 2009

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