Two Hino trucks clock up more than two million kilometres for Eray Freight
It is not often that one finds two trucks that have clocked up a combined two million kilometres of trouble free running, with no breakdowns and no repairs – not even a clutch replacement. And they are not extra-heavy duty long haul models, but freighters in the heavy truck category (8 501-16 500kg GVM).
This is the situation with Eray Freight, which is based at the Kempton Park agricultural holdings, and is celebrating this noteworthy achievement with two of its Hino trucks.
One of them has covered almost 1.1mn km with the same driver at the wheel. He is Elias Kgaladi who has driven the 15-257 freighter since it was delivered by Imperial Trucks, Elandsfontein, in 2003. The other truck has 998,000km on the odometer and has had many drivers behind the wheel, but it has also been reliable and trouble-free.
Eray Freight, which has been a sub-contractor to Truck Africa since 2000, has grown from having two four-tonne trucks in 1999 to a fleet of 15 now, with virtually all of them Hinos. In fact only Hino trucks have been bought since taking delivery of the first two in 2003.
Up to now they have all been eight-tonne freighters, but now a 13-tonne 17-26 freighter with a tag axle has joined the fleet and it will be driven by “millionaire” Elias Kgaladi as a reward for his excellent treatment of the Hino eight tonner over the past eight years.
What makes Eray Freight unusual is that it is virtually a one woman business with Ria Botha the powerhouse behind its success and expansion over the years. She does have the support – both moral and practical - of her husband, Pat, who has just retired from Telkom after a 38-year career but runs the business virtually single handed.
Ria was previously a transport consultant involved mainly with cross-border freight movement. In 1999 she decided that she would make a career move and become a transport operator herself, so bought two used four-tonne freighters. They were followed by two Swedish trucks in 2001 before the switch to Hino in 2003.
“Except for one of the Hinos that was hijacked all the trucks I have owned are still in the fleet and seven of Eray Freight’s 14 drivers have been with the company for most of its 12-year history,” added a proud Ria Botha.
The trucks are all serviced on the company premises after the warranty expires. There is a dedicated technician and the trucks run 20,000km between services. Fuel consumption is considered very good at about 6km/l with the fitment of extra fuel tanks ensuring that most round trips can be completed without refuelling.
The trucks are loaded during the day at the Truck Africa depot in Wadeville and then travel through the night to destinations such as Richards Bay and Sishen, with occasional trips to Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.
The fleet transports a variety of cargo, including regular deliveries of replacement parts for a heavy equipment manufacturer, and all the trucks are fitted with Altech Netstar tracking systems, which have proved very effective and user friendly.
“We are not only delighted with the wonderfully reliable service we are getting from our Hino trucks, but more than satisfied with the excellent service we receive from Hino Elandsfontein, and particularly the help given us by Bobby Pringle. He was recently honoured as one of the first Hino salesmen to qualify as a Knight for going beyond the normal call of duty for a truck salesman and we can understand why he achieved this honour,” concluded Ria Botha.