IMPERIAL Logistics drivers, Pieter Adriaanse and Basil Bailey, consecutively winner and runner up of the South African leg of the 9th FleetBoard Drivers' League, or 'TRUCKERMANIA', represented the country against 23 drivers from 12 countries. The IMPERIAL Logistics Refrigerated Services drivers ranked 11th and 25th in over 9 000 drivers from Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and UK.
The Daimler economical driving competition saw all finalists drive Euro 6 vehicles for the first time. Competing for a second year, Adriaanse improved his ranking by five places. According to the Fleetboard Drivers' League: “The drivers from Great Britain and South Africa, who were used to right-hand vehicles, demonstrated their proficiency at the highest level.”
Drivers were rated on factors such as preventative driving style, speed change and braking behaviour, all of which counted towards the 'economical handling of the truck'. The competition was also a test of sportsmanship. The challenge comprised four exercises, including a 30km tour on Germany's public roads, as well as 'economy in town', 'Actros construction rough terrain', and 'speed perception without view' tests.
“TRUCKERMANIA is a stringent test of a drivers' technical skills and concentration, as well as their ability to drive accurately under pressure. Time and fuel efficiency are measured through the Fleetboard device fitted to each vehicle,” says Dennis Jolliffe, Driver Instructor at IMPERIAL Logistics Refrigerated Services, noting that use of the device in the company's local Euro 5 fleet enables ongoing driver training and skills improvement.
He explains, the 'economy in town' test, for example, requires the driver to navigate around five traffic cones that are placed over 200m, each placed 40m apart – having picked up speed above 40km/h between each one. The 'speed perception without view' test involved estimating speed despite an obscured speedometer.
“It is important to acknowledge the importance of driver skills in the logistics and supply chain management industry,” says Abrie de Swardt, IMPERIAL Logistics Marketing Director. “We focus strongly on investing in our driving force to get them to the top of their game – and keep them there.” Eight of the top 10 drivers in the local leg of TRUCKERMANIA were from IMPERIAL Logistics Refrigerated Services, with group member companies Tanker Services and IMPERIAL Cargo drivers featuring in the top 25.
The IMPERIAL Logistics Driver Academy does continuous in-house driver training, and through Driver Learnerships, unemployed learners can obtain their Code EC licence, after which they can complete their National Certificate in Professional Driving modules. “Not only does driver training ensure cost savings for companies, but it provides 'green' benefits through the reduction of harmful CO2 emission,” he adds.
“We have immense pride in the ongoing improvement that drivers within our fleets are making. Pieter and Basil's achievements, as are those of all our participating drivers, are proof that many of South Africa's drivers have excellent skills that can positively impact safety on our roads and contribute to heightened supply chain efficiencies,” concludes De Swardt.