South African retail giant Shoprite is making big changes to its fleet of trucks to cut back on fuel consumption and become more energy efficient while transporting products across the country.
The group announced the acquisition of over 100 new fuel-efficient trucks – the Scania Euro V – which it says will lead to a fuel saving of around 10%, with lower carbon emissions.
It said that it will add to this fleet of fuel-efficient trucks each year, with and additional 140 vehicles expected to be on the roads by the end of 2023.
The group said it will also install solar PV on its trailers to allow the trucks to be switched off while the refrigeration and tailgate lift continues to run on solar power. The Shoprite fleet currently includes 903 trucks and 1,360 trailers, of which 928 are fitted with solar panels, it said.
These efforts will have a large impact on the group’s operations and logistics – impacted by rocketing fuel prices and load shedding.
In July, AgriSA, the biggest federation of agricultural organisations in South Africa, said the impact of ongoing power outages and rising fuel costs in the country was killing the ‘cold chain’ – the process of keeping produce refrigerated through its supply chain process.
AgriSA said that retailers have been rejecting fresh produce, mainly vegetables, due to delays in delivery as a result of a lack of power to keep refrigerators going. Meanwhile, the higher price of fuel has directly impacted the shelf price of many products due to steeper delivery costs.
For Shoprite, with its fleet travelling close to 90 million km and delivering more than 350 million cases of products to its stores, the energy and fuel savings will have a direct impact on its business operations.
The group said it would be able to take the savings and deliver lower prices to customers.
“Operational and supply chain efficiency play a critical role in ensuring that the group remains Africa’s most affordable and accessible retailer while reducing our environmental impact,” said Andrew Havinga, chief supply chain officer for the group.
“We are relentless in our efforts to improve efficiencies in our supply chain as these measures are key to extending our customers’ spending abilities. By further increasing the energy efficiency of our trucks and training our drivers on how to reduce fuel consumption, we are able to lower the comparative impact of the distance our fleet travels every year,” said Andrew Havinga, chief supply chain officer for the group.