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Case study

Investing in pilot projects to improve safety and reduce the environmental impact

Unitrans’s participation in an innovative pilot project, in conjunction with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (‘CSIR’) and the Department of Transport, has yielded significant benefits.

With an investment from Unitrans in excess of R150 million in specialist technology vehicles and systems with increased safety standards, the project, which is known as the Performance-Based Standards (‘PBS’) programme, has reduced the impact on the environment, improved payload efficiency and reduced supply chain costs.

The innovative design of PBS vehicles and the use of new technologies allow for safer and more productive vehicle combinations to be manufactured and operated. This, in turn, causes less damage to the environment and road infrastructure.

The project’s metrics indicate that PBS vehicles have a 39% lower crash rate or 1.37 accidents per million kilometres compared to well managed fleets with a standard average of 2.24 accidents per million kilometres.

Payloads have increased significantly and with some PBS vehicles consuming on average 16.94% less fuel per ton kilometre, the emissions per tonne kilometre transported has been significantly reduced.

The impact of these units on road and highway infrastructure per tonne transported payload is 9.5% less.

Unitrans currently has 50 PBS vehicles in its fleet operating in a variety of industries, including the mining, agricultural and petrochemical sectors.

Unitrans recently introduced a locally manufactured PBS-designed petrochemical tanker with a lower centre of gravity and a higher static rollover threshold than conventional units. This feature, coupled with other dynamic handling criteria, ensures optimal vehicle performance and improved handling and safety. The unit outperforms other commercial vehicle combinations on the road and its tyre and axle combinations
significantly reduce the wear on road and bridge infrastructure.

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