Thumbs up

Automatic gearbox options on Hino trucks are gaining traction in the fleet market with the most recent ‘thumbs up’ coming from Riaan Harmse, who is the fleet logistics controller for Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA), the largest Coca-Cola bottler in South Africa.

hino 500 wide cab

“We haven’t had many Hino trucks in our fleet previously, but I was impressed when we had the latest models with automatic transmission for extended evaluation,” says Harmse.

“We have used Toyota Dyna light trucks for many years, but only purchased the larger, Hino 300 Series trucks a few years ago when they were offered with the option of automatic transmission. We then waited until the Hino 500 Wide Cab range with automatic derivatives was launched before we ordered our first Hino 500 models.”

Launched first in the 300 range, in 2015, the auto option is now available on most models in the Hino 500 Wide Cab range of trucks of 16-tons and above.

The national CCBSA fleet currently includes 38 Hino trucks, mainly 300 815 and 500 1627 long-wheelbase models. The 300 models are used mainly for special promotional events. These include some trucks that have been fitted with special Serco van bodies which double as an entertainment stage with professional music and sound systems.

hino 300 - coca cola promotional truck

The 500 Series trucks are used for a variety of tasks, including the delivery and collection of coolers. The Dynas work hard servicing vending machines.

A study into building special drop trucks for smaller retail outlets is currently underway, using Hino trucks as the prototypes. They have van bodies with lockable roller doors and can be operated by the driver only.

The CCBSA fleet, which has been consolidated following the merger between non-alcoholic, ready-to-drink bottling operations of The Coca-Cola Company, SABMiller, and Gutsche Family Investments, is made up of more than 6 200 pieces of equipment, which consist of trucks, trailers, cars, light commercial vehicles, forklifts and motorised pallet jacks. Owner-drivers operate the vast majority of the trucks and truck-tractors, but all the trailers are company owned.

The fleet operates from 12 major sites and then there are about 100 distribution partners which assist with deliveries from various sites close to the market place. The fleet moves in excess of one million cases of beverages daily and operates 24/7 with many night-time deliveries to major customers. The delivery volume can move up to 1,5-million cases a day during the festive season and then additional trucks are hired in – as many as 150 trucks at peak demand periods.

coca-cola special promotional van

The CCBSA fleet has just been awarded RTMS accreditation after an exhaustive process.

“It was a big task, but it will be very beneficial to our fleet operations going forward,” says Harmse.

He added the company had a huge focus on road safety with all trucks having both tracking systems and in-cab cameras to monitor driver behaviour.

The latest initiative has been the acquisition of two sophisticated driver simulator rigs which will be mounted in 8-metre dry freight box bodies, so they can be moved around the country. All drivers will in future have to undergo annual evaluations on these simulators as well as physical, on-road assessments to be issued with a CCBSA drivers’ licence.

“Our safety drive includes speed governing to a legal 80km/h limit and full operational checks done at each service, whether it is carried out by a dealer or at the on-site workshops at each depot,” added Harmse.

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