The level of collaboration among key stakeholders in the heavy haul value chain is only about half of what it should be and more must be done to ensure that this is encouraged.
This was indicated by speakers during a heavy haul collaboration panel discussion on the third day of the South African Heavy Haul Association’s 2022 conference in Johannesburg.
Speakers noted that it was important that the real and common issues facing stakeholders be identified and agreed on, as this would contribute to greater collaboration.
Once a common vision was agreed on, it would be easier to rally around identified challenges and find sustainable, efficient solutions, speakers posited.
Speakers also noted that while there was a willingness to meet and collaborate, there was often a lack in the capability to turn this into concrete solutions. It was emphasised that the implementation and execution of solutions was often a stumbling block.
Speakers also emphasised that collaboration had to be proactive rather than reactive.
By planning for the future, rather than only meeting when an issue arises, the industry could prevent lost opportunity costs.
One area that showcases how collaboration is manifested in the heavy haul value chain, for example, is that of security.
A representative from Transnet noted that the entity had been very clear on the challenges facing it in terms of infrastructure damage and theft. Industry response to this issue has been positive, with measures such as drones and a greater security presence implemented, reducing the number of incidents.
However, while Transnet is committed to addressing security in this manner, by protecting infrastructure that is already there and responding immediately, this does not resolve the underlying issue of crime.
Therefore, a multi-pronged approach is required, whereby all stakeholders participate, to ensure that crime is tackled as a national issue, with government as a key participant, and collaboration with business undertaken.
Continuing the short-term solution approach alone would only reduce incidents on certain lines, but the crime would then move elsewhere, the representative said.