Paper presented at the 28th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 6 - 9 July 2009 "Sustainable Transport", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
Measures to improve energy efficiency and sustainability in freight transportation are well documented internationally. These range from improving vehicle aerodynamics to freight demand management; from driver training to alternative propulsion systems. South Africa is spatially challenged, with production often far away from ports and export markets. The freight system relies on old technology, prefers road-based transportation and has virtually no inter-modal facilities and no inland waterways to utilise. Adopting internationally successful measures might not be as rewarding in South Africa. The applicability of said measures needs to be investigated for South Africa. It needs to be determined what the viability of implementing measures is, what unique constraints there are and whether the skills and resources required for implementation are available. The paper starts with an overview of the obstacles facing freight transportation. An assessment of the potential success of implementing various measures follows. Measures are grouped into the following categories: non-viable, doubtful, neutral, potentially successful and extremely promising within a South African context. The ultimate objective is to indicate the most viable solutions for mitigating the energy demand and improving the sustainability of freight transport in South Africa.
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