The term ‘built for the long haul’ could not ring more true for Sastri Rapiti, owner of Orlens Transport, who credits DAF Trucks and Babcock for playing a fundamental role in building a successful logistics business that has increased in turnover ten-fold in a mere five years.
Rapiti’s inspirational success story started with a few second-hand DAF Trucks that quickly grew to comprise 90% of his fleet as his logistics service spread across sub-Saharan Africa and new DAF Trucks were purchased for his growing operations. Babcock has been the sole importer and distributor of DAF Trucks in southern Africa since 2011, the same year that Orlens Transport began operating.
Mark Gavin, sales director of Transport Solutions for Babcock, says that the beauty of the DAF Trucks lies in their outstanding quality that is customised to ideally suit African environmental and road conditions. “The fact that DAF Trucks are built in Europe and designed for Africa is a major drawcard for Babcock and our customers,” says Gavin.
Rapiti, whose logistics operations is based in KwaZulu-Natal, is no newcomer to the transport industry, having been involved in the sector for many years and working with all the major truck brands, but he maintains that there is no better truck than DAF. Every single one of the DAF Trucks he has bought is still running.
Gavin believes that Rapiti is an encouraging success story, starting off with a few older DAF Trucks and slowly building up his fleet and his business into a highly reputable company. “Babcock has established an excellent, mutually beneficial relationship with Sastri and Orlens Transport, who continue to be loyal to Babcock and the DAF brand name,” says Gavin. “This is not surprising, considering that the first second-hand DAF Truck that Rapiti purchased is still running, as are all the other DAF Trucks in his fleet.”
Gavin, who has worked closely with Rapiti since his time with the brand, puts this down to the truck’s engineering that delivers driveability and productivity that is built to last. In addition, used DAF Trucks come with comprehensive service records and are subject to rigorous checks by Babcock.
Rapiti says, “Although there are bigger, more established truck brands available in South Africa, you are just a number, whereas with Babcock you get personal service. If you have a problem, you can call Mark or one of the salespeople and they will immediately try to help you, instead of having to contact a call centre for assistance.”
As a result of perseverance, hard work and hands-on involvement from Rapiti, Orlens Transport has built up long-term contracts with a number of blue chip customers in the packaging, beverages and other transport sectors, and operates throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
DAF Trucks has been recognised as one of the top performing truck tractors in Europe for several years and is swiftly gaining in popularity in southern Africa as Babcock continues to work on promoting the brand name and the after-sales support available from Babcock.
The DAF XF series is suitable for heavy, long distance haulage and the versatile CF series is suited to a variety of applications, including regional routes and construction.
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