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FAW SA trucks get ready for the long haul

Zimbabwean company Strauss Logistics takes delivery of 44 FAW truck tractors built in the Eastern Cape.

Harare-based liquid fuels distribution giant, Strauss Logistics, recently placed an order for 44 FAW 33.420FT truck tractors from Choice Diesel Mozambique, which became FAWs’ first and only sales and service dealer in Mozambique.

The truck tractors were sourced and supplied by FAW SA, and were  assembled in the company’s plant in Coega, Eastern Cape. The units were driven to Johannesburg where bull bars and flat-deck trailers were fitted before they were taken to Harare for licensing and registration.

The FAW trucks will be used by Strauss Logistics to transport general cargo from Durban to Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of Congo and are expected to travel  more than 100,000km a year. Additional trucks in the company fleet will operate on the Beira Corridor, which links Mutare in Zimbabwe to Beira and Tete in Mozambique.

This is the first time Strauss Logistics has bought FAW trucks. It previously  used European and North American brands to haul Chinese-sourced fuel tankers throughout Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique.

Zimbabwe’s Strauss Logistics is a leading road and rail distributor of petroleum products in Central and Southern Africa. The company was established in early 2010, having started as a trading company which outsourced its transport needs to third parties.

Today it operates  more than 200 trucks and more than 60 rail tank cars. Serving second-tier retail customers as well as large industrial and commercial fuel users, Strauss Logistics moves diesel, petrol, Avgas, Jet A1, Ethanol, White Spirits and liquefied petroleum gas across the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.

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Darren Da Silva,  COO at Strauss Logistics  says he travelled extensively to China to witness the production of the company’s tankers, some of which were custom designed for the company. He later adopted a positive view of Chinese manufacturing and design.

The FAW brand was later recommended to him by Choice Diesel Mozambique’s MD, Wayne Greenwood. Choice Diesel became a full FAW sales and service dealer in Mozambique in August 2018. 

While FAW is represented in Zimbabwe, Strauss Logistics is a long-standing customer of Choice Diesel Mozambique and the 44 truck deal stems from the close working relationship the two companies have had for years.

Strauss Logistics is an ISO-approved company, registered with the Environmental Management Agency in Zimbabwe and is German certified in OHSAS 18001/2007, ISO14001/2015 and ISO 9001/ 2015 standards.

It is a major player and specialist in the SADC region, where experience and contacts play a leading role in turnaround times.

A round-trip from Durban to the DRC and back can take about 38 days. This makes driver comfort a leading concern. Every tractor and trailer in the fleet is equipped with a vehicle-tracking device.

Strauss Logistics will soon commence with dry bulk and general cargo transport, hence the decision to buy the FAW 33.420FTs. The company has ambitious growth plans and foresees a fleet of 250 trucks being used to transport general cargo throughout the SADC region by 2020.

“There is a new political and economic environment in Zimbabwe,” says Da Silva. “Commodity prices have risen and there is decent work in the DRC.”

Before taking delivery, Strauss Logistics’ drivers travelled to SA for training.

FAW’s driver training is being expanded to include technical training and general vehicle maintenance training. FAW SA staff will also travel to Harare to perform additional driver and technical training duties.

“We needed a truck supplier that had stock and parts available —in Southern Africa — and was therefore truly capable of serving all our needs promptly,” Da Silva says.

Strauss Logistics operates a large workshop in Harare, which will be audited by FAW SA, as part of its efforts to standardise and benchmark its dealers throughout the region. Some workshop processes have been automated and digitised, Da Silva says.

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