Business bounce back on the cards for Serco in 2021
Business at leading South African truck and trailer building company, Serco, has recovered strongly in the last quarter of 2020 with prospects for next year looking promising, which takes some of the sting out of the reality of sales being nearly 25% down this Covid-19-impacted year compared to 2019.
CEO Clinton Holcroft said what was highly significant in his book was that the company did not have to retrench any employees in spite of the extremely difficult trading conditions caused by the Coronavirus which is still ravaging South Africa and most countries around the world.
“I extend my special thanks and appreciation to all Serco staff for the extra effort they put in to ensure our wheels kept turning, even during the darkest days,” said Holcroft.
The pandemic accelerated our efforts to grow the dry freight section of our business with the introduction of new cargo van bodies, curtain siders and drop side vehicles, to complement the refrigerated trailers and bodies we are well known for.
“Another positive – and there are several – is that despite the pandemic adding extra pressure on South Africa’s already weak economy, Serco has seen trailer and truck body orders pick up strongly in the later part of 2020, which bodes well for a rebound in the new year. This forecast is based on transport operators needing to replace ageing vehicles in their fleets which become more costly to run as they get older, and backlogs with certain popular truck chassis delaying the replacement of new bodies into early 2021.”
However, there is no doubt, says Holcroft, that the market is fragile with customers being very cost sensitive and focused on extracting best value for their spend. “Our goal is to reduce costs thus enabling us to offer competitive pricing and enhance product value with our increased payload and durability in both our refrigerated and dry freight options.
“Serco is committed to supporting local manufacturing – we are proudly South African and geared to compete with the best technology and quality on offer locally and internationally.”
Holcroft said there had been a significant increase in demand for good quality pre-owned refrigerated trailers and rentals. “We have focused on these areas due to the growing demand.
“However, some constraints have been encountered where tare weights and description changes for rebuilds often take months to resolve due to inconsistencies in requirements at the licensing department as well as inspections for special approval being hamstrung because of poor communication between the Department of Transport and local licensing departments.”
He said there had been months of major bottlenecks at vehicle testing stations which handled the issuing of certificates of fitness for new and used vehicles. The delays were the result of restrictions being placed on the number of tests permitted each day – even during level 1 lockdown – making the situation extremely challenging as volumes increased towards the later part of the year.
“The economy won’t grow significantly until the Government intervenes and corrects worrying aspects affecting the transport industry such as the long delays at vehicle licensing departments and the burning of trucks on South African freeways. These issues are causing negative publicity both locally and globally with little or no visible corrective action being taken.”
Holcroft added there was a need to create a more business friendly environment in South Africa that would increase growth and reduce unemployment. “There are serious obstacles – as outlined above – in the path of improving business and it would give all concerned a tremendous boost if the authorities acted decisively and swiftly to remove them.”
About Serco Industries (Pty) Ltd
Serco Industries specialise in the design and manufacturing of insulated and dry freight truck bodies and trailers. These trailers are relied upon by Southern Africa’s leading transporters and long-distance hauliers to carry everything from ice cream to day-old chicks, from beef to bread – safely and hygienically.
Serco’s success as a market leader can be attributed to their design, innovation and the quality of products and services. With extensive experience in specialised fields as well as in-house design capabilities, our clients have no doubt they have selected the right partner to ‘give them the edge’ in a competitive market.
Serco head office is in Durban, with branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth
Source – Shirley Williams Communications