Centre for Sustainable Road Freight – South Africa

The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (SRF-SA) is a collaboration which currently includes Stellenbosch University, the CSIR, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

The SRF-SA is based on and linked to the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight in the United Kingdom (SRF), a collaboration between Cambridge, Heriot-Watt and Westminster Universities and organisations in the freight and logistics sectors in the UK. The South African initiative is independent of the SRF, but the two are joined by a common mission and share tools, data, and expertise.

Stellenbosch University, the CSIR, Wits, UWC, and TUT bring together a broad range of expertise in vehicle dynamics, road safety, mechanical engineering, rail and road logistics, transport economics, industrial engineering, transport regulation, battery expertise and materials development. The partners represent the country’s premier scientific research and development expertise in these fields.

The SRF-SA is funded by a combination of research grants and annual subscriptions from industry partners; currently a £50,000 grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering and a yearly subscription from Michelin and hopefully soon Transnet. The SRF-SA is run by a Steering Committee consisting of members of the University research teams, CSIR, and representatives of each of the Industrial Consortium Members.

Members of the SRF-SA influence the aims and directions of research in sustainable road freight, and obtain the benefits, including exploitation of intellectual property, for relatively low cost. The make–up of the SRF-SA ensures that the members have complementary interests and that commercial confidentiality is maintained where necessary. Recent successful projects include the evaluation of low-rolling resistance tyres at Gerotek, freight modelling to promote modal shift to transport modes with lower carbon emissions and a Smart Transport Manager Training course.

The core research topics are proposed by the university researchers and the industrial sponsors on an annual basis. They are vetted and approved by the Industrial Consortium. This mechanism ensures that the research is sufficiently fundamental, while still meeting the medium-term R&D needs of the member companies.

The SRF-SA provides a unique opportunity for member companies to influence, and be directly involved in state-of-the-art research into reducing fuel consumption, without committing large resources. They can work together on medium-term research and development projects in a co-operative environment and adopt or exploit the technology arising from the partnership.

For more information contact Joubert van Eeden (jveeden@sun.ac.za), Christopher de Saxe (cdsaxe@csir.co.za), Frank Kienhöfer (frank.kienhofer@wits.ac.za), Jan Havenga (janh@sun.ac.za), Bernard Bladergroen (bbladergroen@uwc.ac.za), Bob Bond (bob.bond@tutenterprise.co.za), Paul Nordengen (pnordengen@hvtech.co.za),  or AK Kamdar (ak@kdglogistics.com).