By Koketso Mamabolo & Charndré Emma Kippie
Without stunning leaps in transportation and evermore intricate logistics management, humanity would not have developed to the point it has now. Without the ability to cross oceans, fly over continents and drive through countries, we wouldn’t be able to exchange goods at the rate that we do.
With both imports and exports seeing gains in the fourth quarter, the ability for the private and public sectors to move and store goods is as important as ever. StatsSA recorded growth in imports of 8.9% and imports of 8.5% in their latest GDP report.
“The success of all modes of transport is a vital prerequisite for economic growth,” said His Excellency President Ramaphosa, speaking at the launch of Transport Month in October of 2017. “Economic growth and service delivery can only take place when we have efficient and reliable transportation.”
The transport sector employs over 400 000 people full-time, and another 15 000 part-time, with grossing earnings sitting just under R40-billion.
With real GDP growth of 2.1% projected for 2022 and 1.8% over the next three years, the government is eager for more growth, and is well aware of the extent to which infrastructure and an improved transport system can contribute to increasing these numbers.
During the Budget Speech in February, the Minister of Finance, Honourable Enoch Gondongwana said: “We are accelerating the implementation of critical structural reforms contained in the ERRP in particular in electricity, rail, ports and telecommunications.”
“As we upgrade roads, bridges, water and sewer (sic), transport and school infrastructure and hospitals and clinics, the aim is to unlock higher levels of employment for those involved in the projects.”
Simply put, a well-functioning infrastructure network, coupled with efficient transport, is key to supply-chain management. The more goods we are able to move, and the quicker we can move them, the more potential there is for growth.
As populations grow and as the manufacturing and agricultural upscale in order to meet the demands, we need transportation and logistics management which can ensure goods are moved and stored in a way that doesn’t create shortages or long waiting times.
The transport and logistics industry feeds into many other sectors throughout the country,
acting as a ‘feeder-network’ to a variety of industries, including agriculture, manufacturing,
retail and so forth etc. Without streamlining the industry, the fundamental economic
principles of ‘supply and demand’ cannot be fulfilled. Thus, technological adaptation and
innovation plays a huge role in keeping our economy going.
What are some of the technological trends that could bolster the impact the transport and logistics sector has on growth?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), with its many innovative technologies, has assisted in shaping a bright future for South Africa’s logistics industry. No matter the size of any given operational fleet, be it 5 or 10 vehicles, logistics companies find themselves in need of appropriate telematics tools for limiting expenses incurred, whilst driving productivity and the overall success of their fleets. Fleets in South Africa are now able to gain better insight into their vehicle activities, thanks to a newfound capacity for producing and simplifying Big Data. This development currently enables our fleet managers to recognise and address shortcomings found in their fleets.
Parking lot crashes are one of the biggest causes of accidents experienced by our transportation fleets. With the help of new proximity detection technology, such as CSIR’s Smart Mobility technology and Geotab Africa’s Advanced Fleet Management Solutions, fleets are now able to decrease risks which occur in parking lots, ensuring the safety of drivers. We now have access to technological solutions for detecting in-reverse vehicle movement, which aids drivers with oncoming traffic awareness.
Better quality control
Distracted driving is a common occurrence in all societies. Unfortunately, many drivers behave irresponsibly, using mobile phones, eating and drinking whilst on the road. In today’s day and age, businesses are able to eliminate distracted driving by implementing dashboard camera surveillance measures. For example, a local company called FleetCam SA provides Vehicle Camera Systems throughout the country. Whilst giving fleet managers more insight into bad driving behaviours, the integration of these cameras will provide fleet managers with quality video footage geared towards identifying risky behaviours exhibited by drivers that, otherwise, would not be documented by telematics.
IoT applications in transport
Telematics have proven great with gathering data on fleet management. However, customer requirements are becoming more complex, making it difficult to run an efficient fleet with only the help of telematics. We’ve seen much innovation in IoT technology, with the integration between telematics and other platforms. This has expanded the use and value of telematics, but has also allowed fleets to foster better data quality and obtain an extensive understanding of fleet behaviour and requirements.