PPC Cement’s Batsweledi expansion project is bringing economic benefit far beyond the towns surrounding the company’s Dwaalboom facility. The most recent beneficiaries of the R1.36-billion expansion project are 44 owner-drivers, appointed by Barloworld Logistics Africa to provide transport services to PPC. As part of a five year agreement between PPC Cement and Barloworld Logistics Africa a total of 340 000 tons of cement per annum will be transported by the owner-drivers.
“With the boom in the construction industry and the increased demand for cement it’s essential that we were not left with a shortage of vehicles or a break in the supply chain to our customers,” said Orrie Fenn, chief operating officer, PPC. “The services provided by the 44 owner-drivers contracted to Barloworld Logistics provide us with the assurance we require.”
Barloworld Logistics Africa entered into a five year contract with the owner-drivers and assisted them with finance to purchase their vehicles. As an owner driver, individuals are responsible for managing their businesses’ cash flow, income and expense accounts, cash books, balance sheets and bank accounts.
Upon joining the programme, owner drivers undergo basic accounting training to provide them with the necessary business skills to manage a successful business.
“Over the past 18 months our owner-driver pool has grown steadily. The transaction is in the true spirit of empowerment and enables drivers to effectively own and manage an asset. This is a real departure from the traditional approach to contracts of this nature,” says Stephen Temple, Divisional Director, Barloworld Logistics Africa. “
In addition to training support, Barloworld Logistics Africa offers the owner drivers accounting services and technical support to assist with maintenance related matters. On-site vehicle maintenance and tyre services are provided by third parties through maintenance agreements with the owner-drivers.
Deliveries are scheduled by Barloworld Logistics Africa fleet controllers and vehicles are monitored to ensure the owner-driver adheres to all traffic rules and regulations while providing PPC Cement with a service in line with the agreed levels.
At the end of the five year contract the drivers will have equity in their vehicles which will enable them to buy a brand new vehicle, by using the existing vehicle as a deposit. Alternatively, the owner-driver could choose to work on other contracts and thereby grow his or her business.
To take part in the programme, drivers apply for consideration to become an owner driver. Individual drivers are interviewed by the Barloworld Logistics Africa Dedicated Transport Services management team and drivers are selected based on criteria including: years of service, highest qualification, work performance as a dedicated transport services driver and a credit check rating
PPC announced the details of its Batswaledi cement capacity expansion project in late 2005. The R1.36bn investment will increase the company’s inland cement capacity in South Africa by just over one million tons per annum. This additional capacity will supply both future demand growth in the South African cement market and the eventual replacement of capacity from older production facilities which will be retired when market conditions allow.