On the Cover: With the introduction of 64 new technological features and advancements on the Actros, Mercedes-Benz is reiterating its commitment to the ongoing development of its products to ensure lower total costs of ownership (TCO), maximum safety and uptime for users – important parameters for every truck owner.
The new advancements come almost two years after Mercedes-Benz launched the fourth generation Actros locally, which, according to Maretha Gerber, head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks Southern Africa, has enjoyed resounding success in the market.
The new range of technological developments, says Michael Dietz, CEO of Daimler Trucks & Buses Southern Africa, are behind the truck’s recent award-winning success. The Actros was in November last year voted the Truck of the Year 2020 by a panel of specialist commercial vehicle journalists from Europe, South Africa, Russia, Brazil, Australia and China.
With nine victories in total, Mercedes-Benz is now the most successful truck maker in the hunt for the Truck of the Year accolade. The truck’s success story started back in 1997 when the first Actros rolled onto the market and the subsequent vehicle generation brought home the award.
In line with the jury’s considerations, the title is awarded annually to the truck that makes the biggest contribution towards road transport innovations that are advantageous to the economy, emissions, safety, driveability and comfort of vehicles. With more than 60 innovative features, the Actros ushers in new levels of low TCO, uptime and safety.
“We are very proud and excited to introduce this phenomenal truck in the year in which it essentially holds the International Truck of the Year title. This is not only historic for our market, but validates our progressive efforts to close the gap between our local and international product offerings,” says Dietz.
Capital equipment: to rebuild, refurbish or to buy new?
With the rising cost of doing business, purchasing new capital equipment may be out of reach for many in the foreseeable future. As companies turn to refurbished or rebuilt equipment to stretch their dollar while servicing their contracts and operations, Capital Equipment News takes a closer look at the options.
On the question of how today’s economic conditions affect the demand for capital equipment rebuilds, Ryan Gaylard, head of the Barloworld Remanufacture Centre at Barloworld Equipment, says that, during any economically challenging time, capital purchases are one of the first areas of spend to be scrutinised by equipment owners.
“The economically useful life of capital assets is inevitably extended to drive up the return on capital. The demand for rebuilding machines and components increases in periods of economic downturn.”
Haver & Boecker Niagara sales manager South Africa Ricco Britz agrees: “We are living in extraordinary times and facing enormous economic challenges all over the world,” he says.
“The mining sector is, however, no newcomer to challenges throughout history, and equipment or machine rebuilds are just one of many cost-saving tools that we at Haver & Boecker Niagara offer to our customers.”
He says the company has seen a steady increase in the demand for machine rebuilds over the years.
Metric Automotive Engineering operations director Andrew Yorke adds that, when customers take a critical relook at their costs and become cost focused, the repair or remanufacture of equipment, engines or engine components becomes “an obvious cost reduction choice when compared with new replacement”.
“However, it is essential to recognise the difference between a repaired component and a remanufactured component. The most obvious difference would be that the repaired component offers more of a saving than the remanufactured one.”
MG Carriers enters the fray with DAF Trucks
To expand its footprint into the dry goods market, bulk liquids transport specialist Bakers Tankers last year established its MG Carriers subsidiary. Having initially used Bakers Tankers’ trucks for the new venture, the company has now taken delivery of five new DAF XF Super Space Cabs from Babcock, the first ever fleet to be owned and operated under the MG Carriers brand.
At a handover ceremony exclusively attended by Capital Equipment News at the start of Alert Level 3 of the South African lockdown, adhering to strict safety parameters in line with the COVID-19 regulations, Babcock handed over five DAF XF Super Space Cabs to MG Carriers, a newly-established subsidiary of Bakers Tankers.
The company is riding on its strong relationships with fuel companies, built over many years, to expand its business into the dry goods market, initially focused on packed products, in the form of lubricants
MG Carriers has since purchased its own first fleet of trucks, the five DAF XF Super Space Cabs delivered by Babcock’s Transport Solutions business, the southern African distributor of DAF Trucks, on June 12 this year. This is the first time Bakers Tankers has owned and operated DAF Trucks.
Why DAF? “Babcock gave us a very good deal,” says Tayoob. “The package they put together – which includes tailor made maintenance plans and a favourable arrangement toward the second economic life of the vehicle, which – speaks directly to our unique needs.”
The five trucks will run with tautliners, transporting lubricants between Durban and Johannesburg. Another key consideration in opting for the DAF range, explains Tayoob, was Babcock’s comprehensive support footprint along the N3 route. Following the establishment of Babcock’s DAF Truck dealerships in Johannesburg and Durban to support the N3 long-haul route.