In February, Alwyn Lau of the Malay Mail wrote an article, titled: “Malaysia’s ignored hazard: Trucks with bad tyres”. Michael Hutt, Group Marketing Manager, Kit Loong Commercial Tyre Group responds to Mr Lau's wrong and misleading statements.
Certainly, road safety in Malaysia needs a lot of improvement (The Ministry for Transport has set a 2014-2020 road safety plan that is currently not on target, so it’s clear more work needs to be done). Anyone championing road safety is an ally in the fight to create safer roads and to reduce fatalities. Some businesses do not put safety first, and even more worryingly, safety Standard Operating Procedures are not well enforced. This is cause for concern and we must pressure the right organisations, both public and private, to do their part in improvement of these areas. It is also important to recognise that cost is always an essential control in business; the balance needs to be right, but safety always comes first, and it doesn’t have to be more expensive.
However, the rest of Alwyn's article is somewhat confusing and offers nothing in terms of a practical approach to solving any issues. I want to address a few of his misleading and Inaccurate points, to set the record straight:
Firstly, Lau writes: “It’s an open secret that one of the most frequent causes of deaths on the highway are trucks, buses and lorries”.
This is incorrect by some margin. The last fully-broken-down report (www.mot.gov.my: Road Safety Plan of Malaysia 2014-2020), citing vehicle descriptions in accidents (2013) shows that 45.9 percent of all road accidents are motorcycles, with lorries and busses responsible for just under 12 percent. As an update, in 2018 (The Malaysian Reserve: “Road accidents are 4th major cause of death in 2018 say Loke"), Anthony Loke, then Minister for Transport said: “more than half of the (road) deaths, or about 66 percent, involve motorcyclists.” A 2012 report by IATSS (Science Direct “Motorcycle fatalities in Malaysia”) stated: “The analysis reveals that the highest numbers of motorcycle fatalities occur in rural locations (61 percent), on primary roads (62 percent) and on straight road sections (66 percent) ... Although fatal motorcycle crashes mostly involve ‘passenger cars’ (28 percent), motorcyclists are responsible for 50 percent of the collisions either by crashing singly (25 percent) or with other motorcyclists (25 percent).” So, there is no reason bases In fact to assume that lorries and busses are the most frequent cause of death on Malaysia's roads. It is mostly due to motorcycles in rural locations. Even if we assume Lau means ‘just’ on highways, with trucks and busses contributing just 12 percent of the overall figure, there is no possibility the comment can be true.
Lorry and bus operators need to do their part in improving safety on our roads, as heavy road users it is their responsibility to protect their drivers and other on the road, but to claim they are responsible for ‘the most frequent’ cause of deaths is false and distracts from us tackling the issues that could save the most lives.
Secondly, Lau concludes that there are two main ‘root’ causes of these accidents: “The root cause of the above kinds of accidents can be traced to two points: Greedy business owners cutting costs by refusing to maintain their trucks properly e.g. by retreading tyres instead of replacing tyres Drivers being made to drive crazy long hours with insufficient rest, yet continuously incentivised to drive even more (as this reduces the need to increase the number of drivers)”
Now, as I stated, there are some businesses that do cut corners, there’s no doubt about it. But it’s not very helpful to point this out without being able to pin-point actions to help rectify this. After all, the law is very clear in these areas. There is a general lack of enforcement of the laws that contributes to people thinking they can ‘get away with it’, when cutting corners. This has to stop. The Government is ultimately responsible for the safety of all of us and this brings us to the point where we say that human nature will mean people will try to get past the rules, so we, as an industry, along with governing bodies and associations, must have a clearer plan to make sure rules are always abided by.
MS ISO 39001:2013 Road Traffic Safety Management System (RTSMS) is a great standard and is being pushed and adopted by many in the land transport sector, but the plans for enforcement are scant. It is clearly recognised that there is a lack of systematic work and commitment among organizations that affect the safety of the road transport system. This needs to be rectified. At Kit Loong, we have a set of services called SC3OCT that are fully certified and will help companies comply with both this ISO and other relevant ISOs and lead to full compliance with Puspakom inspection standards. We would be happy to work with authorities to show how we enforce these rules and standards with our clients.
Finally, Lau asserts: “Retreaded tyres should be made illegal. Period.”
This statement shows a clear lack of understanding of what a retread is, why it exists, where it is and should be used, how it affects the environment and their benefits to both companies and the economy. In addition, it demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge about the stringent safety steps that go into making a retread tyre.
My first point is an obvious and often used one… but it shows that retreads per se are safe. Eighty percent of aircraft tyres are retreads. In the USA, in 2020, an Executive Order was signed that required Federal agencies to replace OEM tires with retreaded tires rather than new tyres whenever possible. Most tyres used on airplanes are commonly owned by the big manufactures, such as Goodyear and Bridgestone, with guarantees of a number of take-offs and landings per tyre. No airline would run the risk of using something that was innately unsafe, no manufacturer would take the responsibility if they couldn’t be sure they were also providing a product of top quality.
Let's get more into the weeds.
Malaysia has very stringent guidelines on the material used in and the actual production of retread tyres. Tyre liners have to conform to regulations set out by the Department of Standards Malaysia, (Standards Malaysia), specifically, MS 224:2005, as certified by SIRIM QAS International, which is part of The International Certification Network, which gives these products access to 37 national markets by meeting these standards. This means the materials are safe, regulated and of high enough standard for international export. Unlike ISO standards, every product must meet high criteria to meet MS224. The retread production process conforms to ISO 9001:2015, a process created for ‘quality management systems’ in the provision of retreading tyres. This is a very detailed process and is adhered to globally to produce top quality retreads. Go and visit any reputable retread factory and you will see very modern machinery and processes, alongside equipment specifically designed to make the products safe. From x-ray-like scanners to look for anomalies in the casings, through to high-pressure testing, the whole operation is designed to produce high-quality, safe retread tyres.
The US and European trucking industries are both heavy users of retread tyres. In Europe’s five top wealthiest nations (France, Germany, UK, Spain, Italy), the retread market makes up 30 percent of the total truck tyre market (ey.com/fr: "The socio-economic impact of truck tyre retreading in Europe"). This equates to 3.2 million units. The US uses 14.3 million retreads for commercial vehicles. These countries have nowhere near the level of road fatalities that we do in Malaysia, but are still keen users of retread tyres for commercial vehicles. So what’s the difference and why are perceptions here so negative?
In a word: quality. But to add some meat to the bones, it is about three main factors: casings, process and material. Not all casings are created equally. The disparity in the quality of new tyres is vast. It’s commonly accepted that half of the burst tyres you see on the road are not in fact retreads, but cheap new tyres. The ‘big’ players invest a lot of time and money into researching the safest compounds, new ways to disperse water, better ways to run tyres hotter, how to make their casings better for retreading. All of this means that some new tyres are both very safe, will travel long distances with good maintenance and be better made for retreading (all the top companies make their tyres specifically to be retreaded, just as a lot of them will retread them and sell them again under their own brands).
Process is vitally important in the creation of retreads. The very first part of the process is to grade the casings to make sure they are safe to be retreaded. This even involves x-raying the casings to make sure there are no hidden deformities in the casing. The rest of the process is similar to creating new tyres. Many retread factories have spent millions of ringgit on the latest technology to guarantee the best product. Often, a retread tyre will have the capacity for longer mileage than the original casing tread allowed. This is because often retreaders understand local issues better than global companies and can use the materials best suited to that environment, both in terms of natural and road environments.
Which brings us on to the final element, materials, which make up the ‘new’ tread applied to the casing. By using the best compounds, most suited to application and environment it is very fair to suggest that a well-produced, quality-controlled retread tyre that conforms to all local and international certification, can be as safe to use as a new tyre.
Lau mentions at the end of the article, (we must) “Limit the number of hours drivers are allowed to work.” This has nothing to do with the difference of safety between retreads and new tyres, but it is very important, and we commend him if he is to focus his time in improving workers conditions of heavy vehicle drivers. To add to this, a few other important areas need to involve both driver safety training and initiatives to create safer roads across the country.
Now, to address the main issues when it comes to retread tyres in Malaysia, so that we can actually offer some practical advice. First, only ever buy retread tyres from reputable sources, these are manufactures who have both certification, the likes of MS224, but also those producers who have retread programmes with the big tyre brands. If a tyre brand has endorsed a manufacture, it’s likely they are of a quality you can trust.
Secondly, even the best tyre will face issues if it isn’t maintained correctly, such as simple things like getting the correct inflation for the load will prolong tyre life to what is expected. These are the areas companies purchasing tyres should be focused on, and. Lau is correct to say this is their responsibility and there should be no cost cutting when it comes to safety. And the simple fact is, running a safe operation is actually more profitable than an unsafe one. A 2012 study by EY found that: “Companies in the top 20 percent of risk maturity generated three times the EBITDA as those in the bottom 20 percent.”
Lau ends his article with the statement “Puspakom, I have spoken.” This is another clear indication of him not understanding the fundamentals about the transport industry. At the time of the inspection at PUSPAKOM every six months, a commercial vehicle may be in a perfect state. However, five months later, tyres could be worn beyond the allowed limits. In that case, it would be JPJ though that is responsible to identify and enforce upon the culprit, not PUSPAKOM.
Volvo Trucks has launched its all new Volvo FMX with an entirely new cab, increased payloads and innovative safety features. With increased front axle loads of up to 20 tonnes and a 38 tonne bogie, the new Volvo FMX is built for the toughest conditions and most demanding assignments.
“Our construction industry customers are facing ever increasing demands to improve in areas such as sustainability, cost efficiency, safety and productivity,” says Roger Alm, President of Volvo Trucks. “With the launch of the new Volvo FMX, we are proving our commitment to supporting these customers by creating robust trucks and innovative services to assist in making their operations easier, safer and more profitable.”
Background • The FMX was officially introduced in Malaysia in 2014. It is the second best-selling model after Volvo FM • FMX has been the key product offer for industry segments such as logging, mining, construction and agriculture (CPO) • Within the line-up, the FMX 6x4 are the key variants used by transporters in these industry segment • The product is designed to handle tough operating conditions and demanding transport assignments
The New FMX • Comes with a new cab, and a roof hatch in steel , to help reducing heat radiation • Improved visibility with the new cab, with the design of a lowered door line and new rear view mirrors. An optional passenger side camera can be added to provide a complementary view of the side of the truck and further improve visibility provides a complementary view of the side of the truck. • Additional storage space for driver up to 800 Liters • New anti-slipped footstep to ease driver enter or exit • New dashboard and instrument cluster. 12-inch high-resolution instrument display with a user-friendly interface allowing the driver to see relevant information and select between four different screen views, depending on the driving situation. There is an option to add on a 9-inch side display that provides infotainment, navigation support, transport information and camera monitoring. • Enhanced safety features: Downhill cruise control feature sets a maximum speed to help prevent unwanted acceleration when travelling downhill. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) that now works at all speeds down to zero km/h EBS a standard feature, and pre-requisite for Collision Warning with Emergency Brake and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) feature. Volvo Dynamic Steering, with the safety systems Lane Keeping Assist and Stability Assist, is also available as an option. • Increased payload: Features the heaviest addition to Volvo’s chassis range – a 38-ton bogie that allows for GCW of up to 150 ton. In addition, the front air suspension has been updated. Front axle load up to 10 Ton; 20T for double front axles. This has allowed the Volvo FMX to be used as the base to carry the other 3 Volvo trucks in the launch teaser video. • Gear changing system: I-Shift and I-Shift with crawler gears, with software packages for different areas of application • A new steering wheel with a neck tilt option for a more ergonomic driving position. For trucks with a steered tag or pusher axle, the steering angles have been increased, resulting in better maneuverability and reduced tire wear. • New traction control panel - The driver can gain more traction by engaging the differential locks in an easy way, by turning a knob, viewing the traction status on the instrument display at the same time. • Traffic sign recognition - by displaying traffic signs such as speed limits, overtaking restrictions and road type in the instrument display • New V-shape LED headlamp
To safeguard both public health and business development throughout the automotive industry in the midst of the global COVID-19 outbreak, organisers of Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City had announced in February to reschedule the 2020 show edition.
After a careful assessment of the situation, the show will now take place from 20 to 22 August at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center (SECC). This Vietnam’s leading trade fair for the automotive service industry will heighten government incentives to speed up the localisation and growth of the domestic auto industry. The fair expects 360 local and overseas exhibitors showcasing the latest products, services and technologies.
As always, Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City responds to ever-changing market needs. This year, the show sets to amplify the Vietnamese Government’s call to localise and expand the country’s automotive manufacturing capabilities, from OE right through to the aftermarket, by nurturing more foreign investment and international cooperation. The recent COVID-19 outbreak has ighlighted opportunities in the local automotive manufacturing market where it aims to become more selfsufficient and take on some of the demand in the global supply chain. In fact, international industry players also see favourable benefits in the domestic market. For example, the country recorded USD four billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) during the first quarter of 2020, of which the manufacturing and processing sector saw some of the highest gain.
To foster such growth in the automotive industry, international exhibitors at the show will present cutting-edge products, services and technologies to the local market. Activities are also set to improve Vietnamese talent in the auto industry; facilitate business exchange between domestic and overseas players, as well as explore foreign investment opportunities that will inevitably lead to more localisation in the automotive manufacturing development.
A recent forecast has predicted Vietnam’s GDP growth still can reach 6.3 percent in 2020 as trade activities expect to pick up in the second half of the year. In efforts to achieve the 2020 growth target, the Vietnamese Government plans incentives to maintain market performance like providing tax-breaks and delaying tax payments that reduce pressure on businesses.
Ms Fiona Chiew, Deputy General Manager, Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd commented: “Despite current global challenges, it is encouraging to see an upswing of vehicle sales in Vietnam, with a year-on-year increase of 41 percent, during the first quarter of 2020. It reaffirms the market’s strong growth prospects. Over the past three editions, the show has continued to highlight Vietnam’s development opportunities in the auto industry. The upcoming fair will be no exception. I am optimistic the show in August will be as successful as previous years, with the wide backing from many exhibitors, supporters, partners, and visitors.”
Elaborating on the show’s safety parameters, Ms Chiew continued: “The safety of our participants is a top priority for us. To ensure good hygiene standards are maintained during the preparation and across the threeday show, our team is working diligently to follow regulations recommended by the local authorities. For example, we will closely monitor fairground sanitation, proactively offer temperature-checks, provide hand sanitiser for attendees and more. These measures will ensure Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City remains a safe business platform for all participants.”
Themes and Sectors Elevate Visitor Experiences To drive business growth in the Vietnamese automotive market, the show puts “Business, Workshops and Experiences” at the core of its local development strategy. Both local and overseas exhibitors will accentuate collaborative opportunities to promote the passenger vehicle, commercial vehicle, motorcycle, and automotive manufacturing and automation segments.
A series of fringe programme events like the Automotive Service and Maintenance Workshops and the Smart Factory and Industry 4.0 Conference will allow fairgoers to capture a unique fair experience. On top of this, the onsite Business Matching Programme aims to draw in exhibitors and visitors who are looking for collaboration and investment opportunities.
Ongoing Support from Industry Stakeholders In the move of rescheduling Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City to August, the show’s strategic partner and local supporters have backed the organisers’ decision. For example, with over 228,000 members, the Vietnam Automotive Technicians Network (OTO-HUI), the country’s leading portal for garages, automotive engineering, spare parts, accessories and technology, and one of the show’s local supporters gave an affirmative vote: “Over the past few years, with its industry recognition and growth, Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City has secured its rightful place in a series of annual automotive trade events across the region. Its global industry resources bring massive value to the local market. We appreciate that the organisers are making sharp decisions to ensure the event runs safely, for all stakeholders, both locally and abroad,” commented Mr Nguyen Thanh Dam, Founder of OTO-HUI.
Being the strategic partner and an exhibitor at the fair, Mr Vincent Prinzing, Export Area Manager at Liqui Moly also asserted the value of the show: “Industries around the world, including the automotive industry, are facing a challenging first half of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. To help recover from the economic difficulties, it is important that we leverage Automechanika Ho Chi Minh City’s platform for trade, network building and information exchange. The show in August will undoubtedly promote the robust local and ASEAN auto industries and support global players extending their footprint in these emerging markets.”
A friend of Asian Trucker, Mohd Akmal Arbaain, enjoys gaming in his free time. Online games simulating transportation business are his favorite. Competing on an international playground, he designed this truck to show his heritage and support for the industry.
We think that this is a good looking vehicle and we appreciate his support during this time. Hope he always has a clear road ahead of him on the data-highway!
BYD Company Ltd. (hereafter known as BYD) and Hino Motors, Ltd. (hereafter known as Hino) have signed a strategic business alliance agreement to collaborate in commercial battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) development. A BEV is a type of electric vehicle (EV) that exclusively uses chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs with no secondary source of propulsion.
Inceptio Technology, the IoT platform G7, and the LNG giant ENN Energy Trading Co.,Ltd. ("ENN") recently signed a strategic cooperation agreement to expand their capabilities in LNG energy supply advantages, digital fuel cards, and intelligent heavy-duty truck asset management. By building LNG heavy-duty truck routes, the three parties will extend the cost advantages to logistics users.
Mr Apparao Ramachandran, president of PULSE, offered the following statement to address issues arising in the transport industry following the extended Movement Control Order:
Many businesses in Malaysia have suffered due to the unprecedented nationwide restriction in movement, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic at large. Nonetheless, the local logistics companies have been exempted from restrictions under the Movement Control Order (MCO) in order to allow essential goods to reach consumers in a timely manner.
Persatuan Usahawan Logistics Semenanjung Malaysia also known as PULSE, is an association for Logistics and Transportations related industry in Peninsular Malaysia. It was established in 2017 and currently has a life membership of more than 100 logistics companies. As the president of PULSE, I would like to convey our gratitude, on behalf of the council and all its members to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Ministry of Transport (MOT), PDRM and TDM for allowing the logistics companies to continue operating our trucks for delivery of essential goods during this MCO period. PULSE would also like to convey its sincere appreciation to all the truck drivers in Malaysia who have become part of the unsung frontliners delivering important goods to the Malaysians during this pandemic.
With the exemption meted out to the logistics companies, many may be assuming that the Malaysian logistics industry is enjoying a ‘business advantage’ compared to other less fortunate sectors. This is however far from the truth. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight an issue that many parties may have overlooked when thinking of how logistics companies may have been impacted during the MCO period, and also during the pandemic, at large.
While on one side, the local logistics companies may seem to benefit from the MCO in terms of less congestion on the roads, and the currently low global fuel price, we face hard challenges due to hidden costs. The cost of operating trucks has significantly increased during this MCO period due to a number of factors including empty return trucks from outstation trips, increase in maintenance costs due to limited autoparts, labour hours charges, support systems during accidents, as well as long waiting hours for loading and unloading from warehouse of goods attributed to shortage of manpower. Additionally, we have to ensure sufficient supply of personal protective equipment for our frontliners such as face masks and gloves, as well as provision of hand sanitisers. We also have to sanitise our trucks more frequently due to the pandemic.
Furthermore, many logistics companies only end up utilising less than 10 percent of their trucks due to restrictions in delivery of non-essential goods during the MCO. The councils and members of PULSE would like to therefore urge all Malaysians to understand the critical state that we are in. It is hoped that all Malaysian residents will stay safe and obey the guidelines from the Ministry of Health and the Prime Minister’s Department at all times, until we have won this war against COVID-19.
Apparao Ramachandran is the president of Persatuan Usahawan Logistics Semenanjung Malaysia (PULSE) since February 2020.
(The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Asian Trucker Media)
Thammasat School of Engineering (TSE), located in the Khlong Luang District in Thailand, has introduced its new AUTO-TU courses to better equip the engineering students with skills that will prove beneficial to their career paths in the commercial vehicle industry.
Sharing the Green Deal vision of sustainable transport and a carbon neutral Europe by 2050, two leading companies in the commercial vehicle industry, Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group, have signed a preliminary non-binding agreement to establish a new joint venture. According to statements by both companies, the intention is to develop, produce and commercialize fuel cell systems for heavy-duty vehicle applications and other use cases. Daimler will consolidate all its current fuel cell activities in the joint venture. The Volvo Group will acquire 50% in the joint venture for the sum of approximately EUR 0.6 billion on a cash and debt free basis.