DAF ‘earns its way’ into VR Cargo’s fleet
80 new DAF trucks for mining logistics company
Having taken delivery of 10 DAF XF 480 trucks in September this year, leading Mpumalanga-based mining logistics company, VR Cargo, has received a further 35 units as part of its 80-truck deal with Babcock, DAF’s sole importer and distributor in southern Africa. The DAF trucks will be deployed in a side tipper application, transporting concentrated chrome from Mpumalanga to Maputo, Mozambique.
A few years after being crowned International Truck of the Year 2018 by an independent jury of leading road transport journalists from 23 European countries, the DAF XF range finally hit South African shores in March this year. Launched under the ‘pure excellence’ theme, the range is living up to its billing, with recent big-ticket sales to some of the prestigious fleet operators in the country. The 80-truck deal with VR Cargo comes on the back of yet another landmark deal of 100 XF 480 trucks with another big mining logistics company in South Africa.
Commenting on the significance of the deal, Mark Gavin, sales director for Babcock’s Transport Solutions business, says, “Of greater significance to us is that VR Cargo is definitely one of the most prestigious fleet operators in the country. They are the yardstick of excellence in bulk mining logistics, and being trusted to be part of their fleet is such a privilege and a big step for Babcock and DAF towards our quest to grow our market share.”
The deal is ground-breaking for Babcock, in the sense that VR Cargo has run a single-brand fleet for decades. Shaun van Rooyen, MD of VR Cargo, stresses that the decision to go the DAF route was no easy resolution.
“I would like to commend the Babcock team for their hard work, which has earned them the right to be part of our 215-truck fleet. The deal comes at a time when we are actually at the highest point of our relationship with our existing supplier, but we believe it’s important to at least have two brands in our fleet. It creates healthy competition between two strong OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and hopefully we can get the benefit of it as a customer,” he says.
Asked why the company opted for DAF, Van Rooyen says the total value offering was right. “The product was right for our application, the price of the asset was just right, the maintenance cost was correct, the financing terms were in line with our expectations and most importantly, the commitment from Babcock was encouraging. I believe DAF is an upcoming brand in the local transport industry, and we want to be part of their growth. I am also sure that the Babcock’s and VR Cargo’s values align, and this is the beginning of a long, mutually-beneficial relationship,” adds Van Rooyen.
A key competitive edge for Babcock was the ability to offer a total solution to the customer. Financed by Babcock Finance, the VR Cargo deal also includes a maintenance contract, on-site servicing, driver training and Babcock’s telematics system, Executrax, as standard. Marius Barnard, MD of Babcock’s Transport Solutions business, says it was important for Babcock to provide a total cost of ownership-focused business solution tailored to VR Cargo’s specific needs.
“We have traditionally been a business that sold good metal, but we have changed that approach to offer a total solution to the market. We are now talking about total cost of ownership, and are combining this top product that has already proven itself in Europe with captive financing, driver training, maintenance contracts and fleet management into a single package to help our customers achieve competitive per-kilometre rates,” says Barnard.
Sales executive Fayyaz Adam says fuel efficiency was also a key parameter for VR Cargo in its decision. The bulk logistics company was one of the few companies afforded the opportunity to put the new DAF range through its paces well before it was officially launched locally. Following 100 000 km of testing, the XF 480 range proved its mettle with significant fuel savings.
Dean Temlett, GM – Technical Services at Babcock’s Transport Solutions business, says at the heart of the vehicle’s fuel efficiency is the new Paccar MX-13 Euro engine that produces significantly more power and torque (up to 2 500 Nm on the 480 hp version) than the previous model. This is courtesy of a new common rail engine design with injection pressures of up to 2 500 bar (20% greater than before) and a compression ratio of 18,5:1.
“The Smart spec is our most common model variant in the range; it is competitively priced with the best blend of value added features for the majority of long haul transport contexts in South Africa – hence the name ‘Smart’ as we keep the specifications sensible to cover the broadest range of on-highway transport needs in the market, at the right price. This model suited VR Cargo not only because they are one of the smartest operators in the business, but because they understand total cost of ownership extremely well and they were convinced that the DAF XF 480 Smart was the right truck that would generate the greatest reward for the business at the end of the vehicle’s first life,” concludes Temlett.