As a company, Transnational Freightlink has been at the forefront of pioneering a number of innovative transport technologies and it is always looking for any technological development which will give it a business edge.Yet, Managing Director Richard Ingram admits that when the company first bought Iveco trucks into its fleet, he was “a bit sceptical” about whether the Italian-founded brand could live up to the claims of reliability and economy that were made for it.
Richard recalls that he wasn’t ready to believe everything that the keen Iveco Commercial Vehicle Sales Director – Bob Jones from ELT Commercial in Turffontein, Johannesburg – was telling him about the vehicles… “You know truck sales people – they’ll tell you anything!”But, now Richard is happy to say that Bob was spot on.The 16 Iveco Stralis models the company runs (out of a total fleet of 46) are “definitely the most economical 6x4 on the market”.Richard goes even further, classing the fuel consumption of the Ivecos as “awesome”.
The same goes for the general reliability of the vehicles – which has been another eye-opener for Richard and a number of other operators of the brand.Transnational Freightlink’s trucks run across South Africa and also cross-border into Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana and economy and reliability are critical factors in a successful operation.“We started this business 24 years ago and some of our clients have been with us since then. That’s because they know they can rely on us. And, in turn, we have to be able to rely on our vehicles. That’s a big plus for Iveco.”
Just as important for a sophisticated and technology-driven transport and logistics operation like Transnational Freightlink, is the support it gets from the dealers who supply trucks to its fleet.“And, in that area, Iveco’s support has been fantastic. They've got good people and those people understand what we do, what our needs are and, importantly, that time is critical.”
In a broader sense, Richard says that it was heartening to see Iveco’s commitment to Africa and southern Africa in setting up a large factory at Rosslyn outside Pretoria.“They put their money where their mouth is,” he says, adding: “That sends a very clear message: we are here to stay.”
For operators of large truck fleets, who plan well into the future, the re-assurance of parts and service security cannot be under-estimated, he says.Almost as an aside, Richard is full of praise for the ergonomics of the Stralis. “I am a tall guy – six foot one – but when I get in the cab, there’s a huge amount of headroom. And the cabs also come not only with a cooler, but also with a food warmer, double bunk, clothes storage cupboard, sunroof, great instrumentation layout and all round visibility. It’s all top European spec
What this means is happier drivers, and happier drivers are less likely to be dangerous drivers.“That’s just another thing which contributes to the bottom line.”
Will Transnational Freightlink be looking to acquire more Ivecos? That process is already under way, says Richard.