Michelin research, Unlocking the Power Of TCO: A Fleet Manager’s Guide to Efficiency and Sustainability, aims to shift the mindsets of South African transporters to run more efficient and sustainable fleets.

The 2023 Decarbonising South Africa’s Transport Sector report noted that, in South Africa, transport is the third largest emitting sector, with almost 55 Mt CO2 emissions contributing more than 10% to the country’s national gross emissions. This is true globally – the transport sector is one of the significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, with most transport today running off internal combustion engines powered by fossil fuels.

Many transport operators in the country are dealing with a unique set of challenges, which include the rising cost of fuel, loadshedding, safety and security as well as other logistical issues. The reality is that many transport operators – especially the small to medium-sized operators have not yet begun to think about how they can run fleets that are efficient, profitable and sustainable.

“Currently, transport owners are not managing the operating costs of their businesses in a holistic manner. By looking at the cost of fuel, driver salaries, maintenance and repairs, purchasing or renting a truck and the cost of purchasing tyres individually, transport owners are unable to see how these often disparate parts of the business can impact each other and be managed better to reduce operating costs and improve sustainability,” comments Charl Lensley, B2B director for the truck and bus division at Michelin.

For example, an average of 30% of a transporters operating costs are towards fuel consumption and 25% towards salaries. What many transporters don’t know, is that by purchasing the right tyres – which only accounts for 5% of a transporter’s operating costs – can both reduce fuel consumption, reduce time and money lost from breakdowns as well as increase sustainability.

Fleet owners calculate the cost per kilometre (CPK) to optimise tyre expenses. They achieve this by selecting durable tyres that can be regrooved or retreaded for reuse. This has been found to be an impractical way of measuring the true impact tyres can have for a fleet business.

By choosing quality tyres with a low rolling resistance is one major way to reduce fuel consumption – a transporter who can reduce rolling resistance by 1kg/t for a 40-ton truck, can save more than two litres of fuel every100km.

To put things into perspective, a fleet of 50 trucks can save R 1 331 050 annually by upgrading from grade B to grade A tyres with a low rolling resistance.

What’s more, Michelin’s suite of products and services also help transporters measure their carbon emissions – MICHELIN Connected Fleet enhances this capability by harnessing advanced systems to provide real-time data insights, allowing fleet operators to make smarter, more informed decisions that contribute to sustainability and efficiency.

“We know that the Carbon Tax is coming, and this will be another operating cost that fleet operators must factor in. For smaller fleet operators who are currently under financial pressure – now is the time to manage their operating costs in a smart, holistic and sustainable. Essentially, we are helping transporters solve tomorrow’s problems today,” continues Lensley.

“Michelin has always been at the forefront of sustainable and safe mobility, we are excited in introducing the Total Cost of Ownership way of thinking to the local market to help fleet operators realise that they can truly operate efficient and sustainable – there no longer needs to be trade-off,” added Amaury Vadon – Michelin’s managing director for Sub-Saharan Africa.