From transporting copper concentrate from the Zambian mines to smelters and then transporting the beneficiated material from the smelter, BHL uses one type of truck. Simon Foulds finds out which one and why.
Buks van Rensburg, managing director of Buks Haulage Limited (BHL), says, “We primarily us the FAW 28.380 FT in our 130-vehicle fleet and I am adding a further 99 of them to my fleet,” Van Rensburg says, “I took the decision in October last year that all my replacement vehicles will be the same FAW 28.380 truck tractor in future. We use it in two configurations – one with a side-tipper trailer and the other with a flat deck.”
BHL have been running 70 of the FAW 28.380 FT side-tippers, transporting copper concentrate from the mines in Zambia to the country’s smelters. Thereafter the company uses 29 FAW flat decks to transport the beneficiated material from the smelter, over 2 400 km from Ndola, Zambia, to Walvis Bay, Namibia, for export to China.
Asked about the vehicle-of-choice falling to FAW, and the FAW 28.380 FT in particular, Van Rensburg, says, “It’s simple – it is effective cost of ownership, together with a dependable and easy-to-operate product and great aftersales support.”
“Who can argue with 2.1 kilometre per litre on a side-tipper and 2.5 kilometres per litre on a tri-axle flat deck? Since I have incorporated the FAW vehicles I have realised a 10% saving on fuel alone. On fleet utilisation I have increased my uptime from 65% to 95%.
“We have seen concrete evidence of FAW’s durability, reliability and simplicity.”
“Why is FAW so good? Because the FAW is easy to service and maintain at our self-service depots, in Ndola and Solwezi, Zambia, our drivers love them and BHL has optimum fleet efficiency.” Earlier this year van Rensburg decided to register a subsidiary of BHL in Namibia to pick up on the increasing business opportunities being generated in sub-Saharan mining operations. In 2015 a new smelter will be commissioned in Zambia, adding to the haulage business.
For the new Namibian company, Van Rensburg has ordered another 25 FAW 28.380 FT units.
“Further expansion, over the next 18 months, owing to the new smelter and other increased mining opportunities, has enabled us to extend our FAW fleet by a further 100 units.
“We have seen concrete evidence of FAW’s durability, reliability and simplicity. Our drivers love their FAW trucks. BHL follows a one-driver-one-truck policy. Also our drivers prefer the manual transmission because they are quicker to repair and, frankly, much easier to drive in Africa. The 28.380 FT has the best uptime – a big incentive for drivers too. Keeping our well-trained drivers comfortable, the FAW provides a cosy cab with air-sprung seats, air-conditioning and all the necessary creature comforts.
“FAW aftersales support and personal attention is unrivalled. I have yet to enjoy better support than that from the FAW group. They are part of my ‘team’; understand my business and know what is important to my business’s viability,” reiterates Van Rensburg.
BHL’s planned FAW fleet replacement cycle is four years, followed by a complete engine and transmission rebuild and then another four years of operating life. At present individual vehicles are clocking up approximately 10 000 km a month and some of the earliest units have reached the 250 000 km mark.