Dealing with rising costs and the technology in the market to keep fleets profitable were the main challenges and opportunities discussed at the third Truck and Fleet Conference held in Dubai on Tuesday.
Taking place at the Radisson Red hotel inside Dubai’s technology hub Silicon Oasis, the audience heard from experts from across the transport and logistics and commercial vehicles industry.
Also making its debut at the event was Daimler’s new Econic truck, a low-entry vehicle designed for the increasingly important waste management segment and other municipality applications.
The Truck Expo and Test Drive programme is one of the unique features of the event and delegates were additionally able to learn about Daimler’s newest Actros model and Fuso’s Euro 5-powered, Duonic-controlled Canter.
Heading the day was a keynote interview with Mohammad Jaber, COO, DSV Abu Dhabi, who gave his own personal insight into how the T&L sector has changed over the past two decades and his passion for ensuring that the happiness and safety of drivers is prioritised in fleet operations.
DSV is the first logistics company in Abu Dhabi to operate double trailer set-ups and combined with latest technology in the Actros, delegates learned that the combination can save up to 30% in fuel use per container – a vital saving when diesel has risen from 2.88 AED per litre to 4.08 AED per litre since the turn of the year.
Glasgow Consulting Group’s Vishal Pandey framed the subjects for the day by presenting an overview of the current commercial vehicles segment in the region. He told delegates that the logistics sector will remain the contributor to “new truck demand, followed by the mining and construction sector.”
He added: “We believe this market is likely to remain closely correlated with the oil prices. Construction demand is also likely to make up for a decline in demand for office and retail.”
Several solutions to keep fleets moving and profitable were suggested during the centre-piece roundtable, including better driver training, the latest trailer technology and alternatives to relying on fossil fuels, such as LNG, CNG and electric drivelines.
Scania Middle East’s Hans Wising told delegates that while the development of new driveline technology is destined to re-shape the sector in the years ahead, a one-size-fits-all solution to greener and cheaper transportation is yet to emerge: “There are no silver bullets that are going to solve everything, but, of course, sustainability is a top priority for us.”
Fabian Bahlmann of trailer specialist Schmitz-Cargobull presented the company’s newest solutions for greener transportation and told the delegates that despite challenges in the global market that it was working “to keep the supply chains active to deliver advanced solutions and services.”
Throughout the event, speakers argued that there needs to be greater collaboration at all levels of the sector to ensure best practice for safe and sustainable fleet operations are maintained in the market.
Al Masaood’s Mohammed Khattab said that the UD Trucks and Renault Trucks dealer was working with its customers during a challenging time for fleets to “focus on what they need, not what they want” to keep their operations profitable.
Prolonging the longeveity of trucks and maximising uptime to keep them in the field was now a priority for companies like Al Masaood. Distributors and fleets can also turn to the aftermarket for solutions to take cost out of their operations.
“Fuel is not the only challenge we see. There is the challenge of ensuring the complete” maintenance of your fleet, including the lubrication system, your brakes, and your tyres. Everything is becoming a challenge,” added BG Middle East’s Gagan Kalra. “We are trying a company level to have a line of products which can help and assist your fleet to provide maximum mileage.”