Payload innovation increases efficiencies
Unitrans Logistics has been optimising its customers’ transportation and distribution requirements, reducing their costs and improving service levels since 1962.

In an economic environment where loyalty is rare and commercial relationships change quickly, a unique relationship has developed over the last
30 years. Unitrans Logistics has been optimising heavy haul road freight solutions for Richards Bay Minerals, the mining and minerals processing group, since 1984. With its long association with Richards Bay Minerals, Unitrans has looked for ways to reduce fuel consumption while maximising payload. Today, with fuel and tolling costs uppermost in the minds of all road transport and logistics providers as well as their customers, this has become even more vital.

Unitrans commenced operations in 1984 with truck tractors that could transport 25 tons and dumpers that had the capacity to transport 30 tons. Just two years later, the payload increased to a capacity of
34 tons.

By 1994, the introduction of experimental bottom dumper trailers saw payload capacity increase to
90 tons. The introduction of a locally built heavy haul side tipper road train in 2004, with advancements in fuel consumption and vehicle function monitoring technology, saw payloads increase yet again, to
100 tons. The following year this increased to
105 tons.

Finally, towards the end of 2012 a new ultra heavy haul transport configuration, or road train, was introduced. Today, the contract boasts 11 of these road trains in operation.

The new road trains:

  • legally and safely increase payloads by 16%; the trains are a massive 42.15 metres long, with a payload of 122 tons in four side tippers

  • reduce fuel consumption per ton distributed; with greater payloads comes less need for road transport and fewer trips. The road trains deliver 38% better fuel efficiency than standard 56 ton trailers

  • a great amount of effort and technical innovation went into the development and testing of the ultra heavy haulage vehicles, ensuring they are the safest on South African roads

  • enhance pavement life overall; the road trains ride on a dual tyre system, which has 72 tyres on the road. This has resulted in a 45% road pavement life improvement versus base line vehicles.


Investment in technology



Investment in infrastructure and technology improves the use of raw materials.




Worldwide increases in the price of fuel, pressure on natural resources, reduced margins due to decreased global demand, greater emphasis on sustainability and more stringent health and safety requirements are driving the group to focus on material issues.

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