ONE of the biggest private logistics companies in South Africa, Bakers S.A. Limited, has ordered 11 dry freight truck bodies and 11 trailers from Serco in an ongoing business partnership that spans more than 10 years.
The Protec steel Dryliners are currently being built at Serco factories and will be handed over during the next few months as chassis become available.
Bakers, which employs more than 1600 people at 17 sites throughout South Africa, has a fleet of over 600 vehicles, all fitted with the latest in tracking and monitoring technology. The company provides linehaul, secondary distribution, final mile and warehousing services locally and into neighbouring territories.
Wear and tear on some of the vehicles in its existing fleet spurred Bakers into buying the Protec Dryliners which are a dry freight version of Serco’s high profile refrigerated Frostliner.
CEO of Serco Clinton Holcroft explained that the Dryliner truck bodies were manufactured on the company’s high tech panel press. “The units have coated steel facings and injected foam, but the panels are thinner than the refrigerated model giving the client the benefit of a unit that is lightweight and strong.
“Bakers have trialled the Dryliner in the past and they feel it works for them – it is durable and gives them low life cycle costs,” said Holcroft.
The trucks have tail lifts which when closed seal off the rear access which has no doors fitted.
Included in this order are rebuilds – using a Serco-manufactured single skin body – of two Bakers’ vehicles that had reached the end of their viable life span. Known as a Van body, it is lighter than the standard structure, helping to significantly improve fuel efficiency and affordability.
Holcroft said the Van body comprised a single skin cladding on a framework without a foam core or internal cladding. However, it was possible, if required, for the client to install protective cladding in the interior.
“The Van body is a less expensive dry freight solution. Previously, Serco did not provide this option, but we now see it as having significant potential and are offering it for both new vehicles and rebuilds.
“Bakers saw the Van bodies as ideal for their rebuild programme and ordered two,” added Holcroft.