6 Road Freight Challenges in South Africa

Freight companies work diligently to ensure that you are given the best service and that your parcel reaches you on time, without any damage. But have you ever thought of the challenges that the South African freight industries face?


Road freight challenges in South Africa


Road transportation has always been challenging. Some of the road freight problems in South Africa include:

  • The ever-rising cost of fuel: The rising cost of fuel has taken its toll on road freight South Africa, as well as several other businesses that rely on transportation. The increase in fuel cost is a major concern for both the business as well as the consumers. The business will have to increase the prices to be able to sustain in the market, and the consumers will have to shell out extra due to rise in price.


  • Cost of logistics: The rising fuel cost is a significant challenge to South African transportation business. But along with rising fuel cost, the company also incurs logistics costs, such as wear and tear of tyres and vehicle maintenance cost, among others, which play a vital role in their sustainability as these companies are mostly dependent on vehicles to successfully run the business.


  • Environmental concern: Omission of greenhouse gases is a hurdle that every transportation business is likely to face. Every company is required to make a conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint. Vehicles are major contributors to environmental pollution, and any transportation company poses a threat to the environment. It is important for such companies to invest in strategies that do not harm the planet.


  • Lack of skilled workers: It is another challenge that many South African road freight businesses face. It is a key concern to many companies across the region as a lack of skilled personnel deters the flow and businesses fail in delivering what they promise. It is important to have well-trained professionals across all divisions to ensure smooth work-flow.


  • Regional connectivity: One of the important challenges of doing business in South Africa is the unavailability of proper infrastructure, leading to long road transit time, the lack of adequate infrastructure, deterioration in the already existing infrastructure, accelerated wear and tear of the vehicle that increases the cost of maintenance. Rough and damaged roads also result in fluctuation in freight delivery time.


  • Road safety: Lack of proper infrastructure is a major cause of fatal road accidents. Unfortunately, bad roads are also the major cause of trucks being hijacked frequently. Road safety is yet another challenge that many businesses have to face. As a company, employee safety becomes very important. Road freight businesses in South Africa have to invest more on insurance to ensure the safety of their employees as well as the cargo.


What are the solutions to road freight problems in South Africa?


Fluctuation in the global fuel price, cost of maintaining the vehicles, lack of proper infrastructure, and lack of skilled professionals is all connected to each other. The challenges that road freight companies face in South Africa have a huge impact on the consumers, the employees, the company, as well as the country’s economy. How can you overcome road freight problems? What are the solutions to these hurdles?

  • Training and development: Lack of skilled professionals is a challenge that many companies across South Africa face. Now the question is, why is there a shortage of skilled workers? How can this challenge be overcome? The ideal way to overcome this hurdle is to invest in training and development and improving their skill set. The training can be in-house, on the job, or even at the start of a new venture.


  • Cost-effective insurance: Lack of infrastructure calls for good insurance. As insurance is an added cost to the company, it becomes vital to look for cost-effective insurance that will cover the loss caused by accidents or hijacking of the truck.


  • Infrastructural development: The much-needed change in South Africa is infrastructural development. Bad roads are leading to added vehicle maintenance cost to freight companies, and also posing as a threat to the lives of drivers carrying the cargo from one destination to another. Proper development and maintenance of the roads and connectivity to other regions can help in overcoming several challenges faced by freight transportation companies. They include:
    • Reduced cost of vehicle maintenance
    • Reduced time in moving the cargo from one destination to another
    • The hijacking of trucks due to bad roads will be resolved
    • Accidents caused by bad roads is reduced
    • Cost of insurance on the cargo as well as driver insurance is reduced


  • Use of fuel-efficient vehicles: The constant rise in fuel prices globally is a threat, not only to the cargo transportation companies in South Africa but a threat to companies worldwide as well. The most effective way to overcome this challenge is to make use of fuel-efficient vehicles that not only reduces the cost of fuel but also reduces the emission of gases that pose a threat to the environment.


  • Carbon footprint is a concern: It is a concern that every company worldwide has to look into and not just road freight companies. It is important to formulate strategies to reduce carbon footprint to ensure that the generation that comes after us learns to follow our lead and take care of the environment.



See The State of the Road & Break Bulk Industry in Africa.