Babcock’s Transport Solutions division is giving cutting-edge European engineering a distinctly African twist as it stocks up on world-class DAF Trucks imported directly from the DAF factory in Netherlands, with adaptations to suit the local environment.
Babcock has been the sole importer and distributor of DAF Trucks in southern Africa since 2011 and offers customers in the logistics and transport sectors a choice of DAF Trucks, including the XF105.460 for long distance haulage and the CF85.410 for regional and construction transport.
The DAF XF105 has fast become Babcock’s best-selling truck. According to Babcock, it offers low operating costs, top comfort to the driver and high revenues per kilometre to the operator, making it the preferred choice for many of Babcock’s logistics customers.
Mark Gavin, sales director for Babcock’s Transport Solutions business, says, “Special features incorporated in DAF Trucks sold into southern Africa extend from modifications to air filters to cooling systems, axle loads and tyre sizes. Our climate and the fact that South Africa has some of the harshest dust conditions in the world necessitate modifications to the main air filter assembly such as the double cyclonic air filters that were developed to deal with the dust experienced in some regions. You also need to bear in mind that generally in Europe the truck engines run at full load capacity a lot less than they do in our conditions.”
Gavin says most of the modifications required are due to highway design and construction in different regions, as the main routes in Europe are generally flatter than in South Africa. Steep inclines and descents here call for tougher engines that have to work harder and longer. While DAF’s Euro III specification engines offer fuel efficiency, cleaner emissions, durability and reliability, in southern Africa they also include steel pistons and a heavy duty cooling system.
“Unlike most other brands that are assembled in South Africa, Babcock imports the trucks directly from DAF in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and then customised for the local market,” says Gavin.
According to Gavin, leading local logistics providers, such as OneLogix, have realised this benefit as they begin to turn more frequently to Babcock for truck supply, support and maintenance.
JSE-listed OneLogix provides logistics and related services to the southern and East African regions. OneLogix United Bulk, specialising in providing liquid transport requirements to a broad range of industries, recently added 20 DAF Trucks to their fleet of tankers operating throughout southern Africa, a fact that Gavin attributes to the broad range of general applications that the XF series can cover as well as the strong service-based relationship that Babcock has forged with this extensive bulk liquid transporting and logistic services company over the years.
According to Babcock, key features drawing logistics operators to the DAF XF105 are its extremely economical fuel consumption and use of many low maintenance components, a spacious cab that helps keep drivers fitter and alert for longer, an engine that comprises 25% fewer parts than previous models thereby dramatically increasing reliability, and smart features such as the speed limiter and engine idle shutdown that prevents wastage of fuel and reduces emissions.
Other services offered by Babcock for DAF Trucks include an extensive regional network of sales and support centres, availability of parts, 24-hour emergency assistance 365 days of the year and total transport solutions designed to maximise earnings per kilometre. Tailor-made repair and maintenance contracts are also available, as well as full after-market support. Strategically located parts distribution centres ensure that parts are always available and strong emphasis is placed on training skills and courses.
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