South African PBS project hailed a success

Paul Nordengen, Vice President (Africa) of the International Forum for Road Transport Technology (IFRTT) recently published a statement outlining the success of the Performance Based Standards (PBS) pilot project in South Africa. Paul’s statement is reproduced below:

The Performance-based standards (PBS) pilot project officially started in South Africa in Nov 2007 with the commissioning of two PBS timber vehicles. In June this year the number of PBS vehicle kms reached 100 million with 245 PBS vehicles participating in the pilot project. Most of these vehicles range in overall length from 19 to 30 m with combination masses ranging from 57 to 82 tonnes. There are also a number of 42 m PBS road trains with a combination mass of 185 tonnes operating in remote areas or within mines. Commodities being transported include timber, chrome and platinum ore, coal, fuel, sugar, sugar cane, aluminium ingots, beer, paper reels, containers and passengers (bi-articulated buses). A report on the PBS pilot project to date is currently being compiled to evaluate the benefits and challenges of adopting a PBS approach for heavy vehicle design and operations in South Africa. One of the shortcomings of the project is the fact that 3 of the 9 provinces have not really participated in the pilot project to date. There is the possibility that this could be addressed in a Phase 2 of the pilot project. Monitoring of the 245 PBS vehicles and a similar number of baseline vehicles indicates average monthly savings of 6 240 trips, 737 000 kms and 203 500 litres of fuel. The latter represents an average reduction in fuel consumption of 12.2% (litres per tonne km). The average crash rate of the PBS vehicles is 39% lower than that of the baseline vehicles, which are all part of RTMS-certified fleets, i.e. representing a better-than-average crash rate than the total heavy vehicle population in South Africa.

A draft Green Transport Strategy (2017 – 2050) was launched by the South African Department of Transport in August. The PBS project can certainly contribute the objectives of this strategy.
Last week I had meetings in Windhoek with the Ministry of Works and Transport and the Namibia Roads Authority regarding a possible PBS pilot project in Namibia. Discussions have also started with the Botswana Roads Department along similar lines. Topography, distances and traffic volumes are ideal in both these countries to explore the possibility of operating PBS/Higher Capacity Vehicles on approve routes to improve vehicle safety and reduce transport costs and emissions.”

The results of the pilot project are encouraging and speak to the growing awareness of the benefits of implementing PBS in Australia, South Africa, and potentially other nations soon. For further information regarding PBS, please contact Advantia