It’s about 2weeks to Christmas and 3weeks to the end of year 2014. For most businesses, guess it’s time to let down your hair, roll up your sleeves and get down to boogie hard in due celebration of another year of great feats. You have looked at your preliminary trial balance of accounts and the parameters are all looking up. You have compared this year’s performance against last year’s and it occurred to you that you have not done badly at all. True you may not necessarily be hitting the benchmarks you had set for the year, but then you can see greater improvements over the figures reported for the year before.
Report from the field tells you that your trucks are faring reasonably well. For a fleet that parades rigs that have ramped up 60,000-75,000 Kilometers in a year moving between 3900-5100 ton of consumables all across the federation over terrains that could barely pass for roads, you simply could not believe your luck that they are still looking this excellent. Feedback from your clients also recognizes the great contribution you have made to their supply chain and hoping strongly for a repeat performance or better in the New Year! HR’s feedback also tells you that you have witnessed very low turnover of drivers and key staff and that very few were found wanting in the course of the year. Surely, you tell yourself, things couldn’t be better under the prevailing socio-political cum economic situation of the country. It really doesn’t matter that you are still getting repeated alerts from your clients to make proper arrangements for trucks and drivers availability during the yuletide in order not to forestall loading and delivery operations -Haulage business is like a Rig Business- the rig never sleeps and so also haulage!
And so, you are probably at about now checking through the report submitted by an adhoc-committee charged with making necessary and proper arrangement for a grand and befitting end-of-year party where everyone would probably have the fun of their lives!
For us in Haulage Report Now, we do appreciate the need to indulge once in a while and especially at a time like this knowing how much sweat and energy must have been dispensed by all to deliver an impressive year. However, for the business owner or General Manager or a highly empowered Fleet Manager, we also do believe that there couldn’t be a better time than now to take a more pragmatic look at some issues that are critical to keeping the business a profitable venture. This and many more shall be our focus this month.
Meanwhile, from all of us in Haulage Report Now, we really do wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance. Our prayer is that you continue to succeed in your business. Amen!
This Month in Haulage Report Now
TRUCKS’ HEALTH: YEAR-END CONCERNS FOR HAULAGE BUSINESS: “…Loading operations are generally light during the yuletide and thus present an opportunity to ground trucks for repairs and preventative assessment without the added burden of service failure or lost business…That persistent funny sound you have been hoping will disappear with the passage of time- think it’s time you have it properly checked out…” Read More.
TRUCK DRIVERS: YEAR-END CONCERNS FOR HAULAGE BUSINESS: “…Many believe that training truck drivers is none other than a clear waste of scarce resources. Some even believe that Truck Drivers are untrainable!…However, for those that still value their undoubtedly most important asset enough to want to invest in them, a time like this is perhaps the best time to arrange some form of training for the truck drivers…” Read More.
FUEL MATTERS: YEAR-END CONCERNS FOR HAULAGE BUSINESS: “…How many rotors did you lose during the year? How many times did you have your fuel injector pump serviced or outrightly replaced? Did you lose any turbo charger or a number of them during the year? Affirmative answer to any of the above is a sure signal to take…” Read More.
INSURANCE AND TRACKING: YEAR-END CONCERNS FOR HAULAGE BUSINESS: “…How responsive was your insurance company during the year? What about claims payment- how much of what you deserve to get was knocked off on the basis of some independent assessor’s re-computation and extant clauses? What was the response time to claims payment? How many accidents did you record during the year or maybe you had an accident-free year? To what extent have you depreciated your assets?…” Read More.
ROUTING & DOCUMENTATION: YEAR-END CONCERNS FOR HAULAGE BUSINESS: “…So most of your trucks did long haul in the outgoing year? Good. But what was the turnaround time like? What feedback did you get matching repairs history for each truck against the choice of routes? Any repeated cases of misdemeanour or wrongful behaviour associated with any particular route? Multiple taxation or duplicated levies remains a clear and present threat to road transport efficiency in Nigeria and…” Read More.
COUNTERPARTY CONTRACT & TREASURY MANAGEMENT: YEAR-END CONCERNS FOR HAULAGE BUSINESS: “…You may want to review how well you have delivered on your obligations. Where some shortcomings are observed, you may want to strategize on ways and means of ensuring that they are improved upon in the incoming year…Aside leaving the monies in the bank probably to service maturing loan obligations and offsetting operational costs, what else can you do…? Read More
HMO & TRAINING: YEAR-END CONCERNS FOR HAULAGE BUSINESS: “…Were these arrangements really beneficial to the people for whom the idea was conceived? How many were able to successfully access the benefits of the HMO? Do they get quality treatment as and when required?..Aside from competences picked up on the job, systematic training is required for every staff to enable them smoothly upgrade…” Read More
Last Month in Haulage Report Now
FATIGUE AND TRUCK DRIVING: “….In view of the prevailing traffic regulation in some parts of the country that forbids trailer traffic during the day, making the trip that same night was within regulation. He left the loading bay and hit the highway. Estimated distance to and fro is put at 110kilometers. He had not driven for more than 30 minutes when the accident occurred. He veered off completely from the highway and ran straight into another truck parked on the road shoulder. His own truck was a complete write-off…”
STRESS AND TRUCK DRIVING: “…Ordinarily, this was not a trip he would have loved to take. He was in a state of anger borne out of frustration. He had just been notified of a debit against his salary for shortages recorded in earlier trips. It came as a surprise to him since he wasn’t aware of any shortage recorded in the trips he had made so far. He was under severe financial pressure; house rent was due and children will be resuming school soon. This was definitely a debit wrongly timed…”
Things you DON’T want to know about ALCOHOL: “…Ask any truck driver why he takes alcohol, and he will probably tell you that he drinks to stay awake for the journey; steel himself against the not-so-pleasant and sometimes dangerous operating environment of trucking; or simply to “drown the associated sorrows” of a life riddled with unfulfilled dreams or other major life stress…”
TRUCK DRIVER AND WORK-LIFE BALANCE: “…The Truck Driver just like every other professional must strike a healthy balance between work and life generally. It is when an unhealthy relationship exists in these two fundamental areas that a whole lot of issues bothering on wellbeing, output, attitude and behavioural complications develop…”
TRUCKING AND HEALTH MATTERS: “…Trucking is one of the most physically and psychologically demanding jobs in the world. Truck drivers spend up to 13 hours a day driving, and up to 16 hours a day engaged in various duties (including driving time) such as fueling, waiting for way bills, filling out POD (Proof of Delivery) forms, obtaining routine vehicle repairs and conducting mandatory vehicle inspections…”
Tips to getting that BIG Haulage Contract: A haulage contract with a fast moving consumer goods company (FMCG), if properly managed, guarantees a steady stream of revenue, considerable vehicle/driver utilisation and good return on investment.
DIESEL AND TRUCKING: “…..Improving the mileage of trucks in Nigeria is a complex issue…we discovered that new heavy duty trucks with a carrying capacity between 30 and 40tonnes give a mileage of 2.0 to 2.5km/litre and medium sized trucks with carrying capacity of 10-25tonnes give a mileage of 3.0-3.5km/litre. But with the age of most trucks on Nigerian roads between 5 and 15years, the mileage for trucks reduces further to 1.5 to 2.0 km/litre. Contrast this to countries like the UK and US where the mileage of most long haul trucks is estimated to be in the region of 3.5-4.0km/litre!….”.
FUEL ECONOMY: IMPACT OF VEHICLE SELECTION AND TYRE ROLLING RESISTANCE:- “…Smart trucking demands that fuel economy consideration feature prominently in the selection of your trucking or haulage assets…Simply put, you burn fuel to make horsepower, and you use horsepower to overcome all of the forces that are trying to retard or hold back the truck. So, a truck that rolls down the road with minimum drag will use less horsepower and consume less fuel…”
FUEL ECONOMY (PART TWO): THE EFFECTIVE DRIVING BEHAVIOUR & OTHER FACTORS:- “..The following is a short list of behaviors exhibited by those drivers that consistently obtain good fuel economy. Studies have shown that a consistently efficient driver can achieve 30% or more fuel economy than an inefficient driver. Simple behaviors, like coasting to a stop instead of staying on the accelerator until the last minute and then braking hard, add up to significant fuel savings after thousands of kilometers…”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIESEL CONTAMINATION: “…A couple of months ago, a notable haulage operator shared a sad experience on diesel fuel contamination with us. Mid 2012, six units of less than a year old 30tonnes truck-trailer were dispatched to haul products for a contract client. Trucks were loaded and fueled at client’s fuel dump. Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was the destination for all trucks…”
‘RICE & BEANS’ PHENOMENON IN DIESEL CONTAMINATION: “…As a first step, kerosene and diesel are procured at depots with tankers. An average tanker’s calibrated content is between 30,000-33,000 litres. They are then transported to the ‘illegal refinery’ where the mixture takes place directly into an empty tanker as the case may be. End products are classified into Grades 1, 2 and 3 and the profit margin graduates accordingly with Grade 1 being the costliest while grade three entails the least production cost but attracts the highest gain…”
FUELING OPTIONS FOR TRUCKERS: “…Whether you run a large fleet or a modest one, there is a fueling option that works better for you. Except in a worst case scenario as you would find in a ‘force majeure’, there is absolutely no justification for why an up and doing fleet manager should fail in ensuring his trucks are adequately fueled and ready to go all of the time…”
THE AGE OF INTELLIGENT DRIVERLESS TRUCK BECKONS: “..We’ve had intelligent unmanned cars, planes, carriages, shuttles and what have you. But not so much about Intelligent trucks until probably now! The line between reality and science fiction is about to shrink further as the age of autopilot intelligent trucks creeps in much closer than ever…”
DEPLOYING FLEET MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS: NIGERIAN BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN PERSPECTIVE (PART ONE): “…In Nigeria, a huge gap still exist in the provision of professional and flexible fleet management solution, stolen vehicle recovery and appropriate response to stickup operations by armed felons. A logistic company with its eyes set on achieving the objective of increased revenues and productivity will no doubt see the wisdom in embracing the implementation of fleet management technology that drastically reduces fleet expenditure, enhances fuel management, improve transit time, ….”
FLEET MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS AND VEHICLE TRACKING SYSTEM: ANY DIFFERENCE?: “..There are already lots of fleet management solutions in the market and in fact, most of the companies with big trucks do have the tracking devices installed and are able to track the locations of their vehicles. The sad reality is that most of the solutions marketed as “fleet management systems” are actually vehicle tracking systems with a little bit of added functionality in them…”
Past Issues in Haulage Report Now
PARKING LOT & BACKING COLLISIONS (PART ONE): MUCH MORE THAN YOU THINK! – “….A couple of years back, somewhere within the Apapa axis of Lagos, a petroleum tanker while being backed up to properly position for a loading operation at a major petroleum tank farm knocked out a couple of loading apparatus. There was a spark and then a conflagration. The resultant destruction of lives and properties was monumental….”
SECUREMENT OF CARGO 1: Facts About Cargo Securement: “…These are very few in the depressingly high number of fatalities that have been traced to improperly latched or restrained cargoes falling off trucks. In fact, a conservative estimate have it that an average of 20 containers fall off trucks on a monthly basis in Lagos…”
SECUREMENT OF CARGO 2: Principle of Cargo Securement: “…This principle states that Cargo being transported on the highway must remain secured on or within the transporting vehicle under all conditions that could reasonably be expected to occur in normal driving and also when a driver is responding in all emergency situations, EXCEPT when there is a crash..”
FRSC’S RSRTT POLICY GUIDELINES/REQUIREMENTS (PART ONE): “…Not too long ago, 1st of July 2010 to be specific, a comprehensive guideline and requirements for the registration and safe operation of articulated trucks (including tanker and trailers) was rolled out by the Federal Road Safety Corps of Nigeria….not a few were completely unaware of any policy in that mold. And yet it has been business as usual for many haulage practitioners..”.
INTERMODAL CONTAINERS; THE SECUREMENT PROCEDURE: “…Secure each intermodal container to the container chassis with securement or integral locking devices that cannot accidentally become unfastened. Integral locking devices do not have to be adjustable. If necessary, secondary attachments can be used to ensure that latches remain fastened in transit..”.
STRATEGIES FOR SAFELY TRANSPORTING CARGO (PART ONE): “…Leaning heavily on the Best Standard Practices for transporting cargo as it obtains in many advanced countries of Europe and States of America where the fear of the law is the beginning of wisdom and where impunity and gross disregard for safety standards have been committed to the dustbin of history…”.
WEIGHBRIDGES: FUNCTIONALITY AND ACCURACY (PART ONE): The cement delivery to the firm usually comes in 30ton (approximate) bulk cement tankers. The findings they made in the first week of operation of the new team were shocking to say the least. In a random check of about five (5) bulk cement tankers waiting in line to weigh-in to make deliveries, the following astonishing discoveries were made….
WEIGHBRIDGES: FUNCTIONALITY AND ACCURACY (PART TWO): Whether weight, or volume calculated from a weight measure, is used as a basis for payment, the accuracy and integrity of a weighing system is critical to both the buyer and seller. If the weighbridge system records payload weights that are too high, the buyer will be paying for products that he/she is not receiving.
REASONS WHY HUGE TRUCKS ‘BEHAVE’ DIFFERENTLY FROM YOUR CAR: We read and see on television news of horrendous truck crashes where the truck’s brakes failed or its overloaded cargo shifted, or the driver was texting or fell asleep. But many studies have shown that trucks and truck drivers are not always at fault.Cutting off a truck is a sure recipe for disaster. Even if you think your car can “stop on a dime,” a fully-loaded tractor trailer or semi-truck takes almost the length of two football fields to come to a full stop.
TRICKS AND TIPS FOR SHARING ROAD SAFELY WITH HAULAGE TRUCKS: You’re in command of a 10 ton missile at 100 km/hr; he’s in command of a 100 ton missile! The end result of any form of collision, be it head-on, rear-end or road departure won’t be pretty. Think smart, drive smart and stay safe always.
…..AND MUCH MORE!
Trucker’s Wild Experience Series
EPISODE SIX- TRUCKERS’ WILD EXPERIENCE: A STITCH IN TIME THAT COULD HAVE SAVED LIVES:- “…I had just driven past Magboro and gradually approaching the tail-end of the popular ‘long bridge’ inward Lagos when my professional roving eyes wandered to my left, the outbound portion of the Lagos-Ibadan express road. Then I saw it and suddenly I was overtaken by a cold chill that ran all the way down to my spine. ‘Ha! eleyi o bojumu ke’ was all I could mutter to myself which translated into English simply means ‘Alas! But this is not appropriate now’!
EPISODE FIVE- TRUCKER’S WILD EXPERIENCE: ANGER MANAGEMENT- TRUCKER & HIS MOTOR BOY: ..An argument ensued. Gradually it became a shouting match. In no time, fingers were being poked at each other’s face. Around this time, the journey had progressed to Sagamu just a little after the Total Filling Station beside the road leading into Sagamu Town…Suddenly, a chap smack on the face that sounded like a plank being smashed on a dry pavement echoed in the cabin…
EPISODE FOUR- TRUCKER’S WILD EXPERIENCE: ‘TROUBLE SLEEP, YANGA WAKE AM UP’ ALONG SAGAMU-BENIN HIGHWAY @ IJEBU-ITELE: And so he stopped and parked on the road shoulder which could barely contain the width of his trailer. A decision he was going to regret for a long time to come! He was just a few meters from where the friend in distress parked his truck when he heard shouts that were hardly coherent simultaneously followed by sound of screeching tyres terminating in a loud crunching of metals!…
EPISODE THREE- TRUCKER’S WILD EXPERIENCE: FLYING WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION AT OLLO, OYO-OGBOMOSO ROAD: The welded steel brace holding the fabricated left rear diesel-tank gave suddenly and the rectangular tank was sent flying in the air. With the combined speed at which the truck was moving and that of the wind, the flying empty tank automatically became a lethal weapon of mass destruction with force high enough to send a 3.5ton vehicle out of the road and into the ditch some 250meters away from the point of initial contact!..
Read more exciting episodes of the Trucker’s Wild Experience by Clicking HERE
Stopping a moving truck in an emergency!
Dealing With Fluid Leaks on Wheel!
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