The South African Transport Ministry is setting great store by the increasing roll out of the Road Traffic Management System (RTMS), judging by the remarks of the Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, speaking at a recent RTMS workshop in Polokwane, which had Hino SA as its main sponsor and several other interested companies as co-sponsors.
“I urge all industry stakeholders to embrace this visionary system which will not only improve efficiencies in the South African logistics value chain, but also enable best practice sharing within the Southern African Development Community (SADC),” said the Deputy Minister.
“The (Road Transport) Department sees the implementation of the RTMS strategy as a responsibility that needs to be driven by industry, while the department will continue to participate and support the National RTMS Committee and its various sub-committees. I therefore commend the pro-activity shown by the leadership of this initiative (to stage a series of workshops) and have no doubt that it will lead to a tremendous improvement in the performance of the logistics value chain.”
The five-hour workshop in Limpopo was the eighth in a series of RTMS national road shows where Hino SA has been the key sponsor. The road shows have taken place over the past two years with a positive response from the industry and much greater awareness of the benefits of RTMS to transport operators.
A five-year RTMS strategy was announced by the minister of transport in October 2006 after lengthy deliberations with many involved parties. The SA Bureau of Standards was tasked with setting out the requisite standards. Now the task is to get many more companies in the transport industry to obtain RTMS accreditation.
The RTMS is an industry-led, government-supported voluntary self regulation scheme which uses compliance to a set of standards as its method of operation. These standards include adhering to road traffic regulations, contributing to the preservation of the road infrastructure and promoting road safety, with one of the positive outflows for the accredited operators being increased productivity.
The workshop in Polokwane was very well attended, with almost 100 delegates from local transport companies and commercial vehicle dealerships. What made the enthusiastic turnout particularly satisfying to the organisers was the fact that a truck drivers’ protest march took place in Polokwane at the same time.
During her address the Deputy Minister of Transport told the delegates there are plans to implement the National Road Traffic Amendment Act, after which the consignee and consignors of goods transported by road will be also be held liable for overloading and other traffic offences related to the related freight transport operations.
“The implementation of the self-regulatory RTMS standards will, therefore, assist the accredited companies to comply with the Road Traffic Act and make our roads safer,” said Deputy Minister Chikunga.
“I must stress that government, the RTMS and the road freight industry have to work together to understand the pressure being exerted on our road network and how the deterioration of the network can lead to increased congestion, destruction of the road network itself and subsequently these factors will derail the development of the very effective transportation system that we desperately need for social and economic development.”
The workshop was multi-faceted and provided a wealth of information for the attendees. Besides presentations on various aspects of the RTMS, including the benefits for insurance and financing, there were also people talking about the role of the RTMS in mining and the operation of the so-called, extra-long Smart trucks.
This was the first time that a representative from the Minister of Transport’s office had attended one of these workshops and Barloworld Logistics’ Adrian van Tonder, speaking on behalf of the RTMS National Steering Committee, said that the attendance of the Deputy Minister “will go a long way in promoting RTMS.” Van Tonder also expressed his committee’s gratitude to Hino SA for the role it was continuing to play in promoting RTMS.