What do tech innovations mean for the transport and logistics sector?

Written by Koketso Mamabolo

January 28, 2022

By Charndré Emma Kippie


Transport & Logistics Made Easy 

As the world embraces more and more transport technology innovations, and younger generations develop a knack for apps and mobile payment solutions, South Africa has been prompted to pay more attention to mobility and tech upgrades – even in the midst of a global pandemic. 

 With lockdown implications, service providers have taken quite a knock which has affected service delivery. The transport and logistics industry was no exception. Companies who offer transportation and logistics services were forced to pivot and make necessary technological upgrades to keep business going in the ‘new normal’.

 The Transport and Logistics industry feeds into many other sectors throughout the country, acting as a ‘feeder-network’ to a variety of industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, retail and so forth etc. Without streamlining our industry, the fundamental economic principles of ‘supply and demand’ cannot be fulfilled. Thus, technological adaptation and innovation plays a huge role in keeping our economy going. 


The Transport Sector’s contribution to the GDP in South Africa 


  • Prior to Quarter 4 in 2021, the South African economy grew by 1.2%. This was larger than had been anticipated. 
  • The largest contributor to GDP growth was the transport, storage and communication industry – which increased 6.9% during the quarter.
  • KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape still remain the two provinces with the highest level of individuals employed in the transport and logistics industry, since last year’s results came out. 




  1. Big Data 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), with its many innovative technologies, has assisted in shaping a bright future for South Africa’s logistics industry. No matter the size of any given operational fleet, be it 5 or 10 vehicles, logistics companies find themselves in need of appropriate telematics tools for limiting expenses incurred, whilst driving productivity and the overall success of their fleets. Fleets in South Africa are now able to gain better insight into their vehicle activities, thanks to a newfound capacity for producing and simplifying Big Data. This development currently enables our fleet managers to recognise and address shortcomings found in their fleets.


  1. Accident-prevention features

Parking lot crashes are one of the biggest causes of accidents experienced by our transportation fleets. With the help of new proximity detection technology, such as CSIR’s Smart Mobility technology and Geotab Africa’s Advanced Fleet Management Solutions, fleets are now able to decrease risks which occur in parking lots, ensuring the safety of drivers. We now have access to technological solutions for detecting in-reverse vehicle movement, which aids drivers with oncoming traffic awareness.


  1. Better quality control

Distracted driving is a common occurrence in all societies. Unfortunately, many drivers behave irresponsibly, using mobile phones, eating and drinking whilst on the road. In today’s day and age, businesses are able to eliminate distracted driving by implementing dashboard camera surveillance measures. For example, a local company called  FleetCam SA provides Vehicle Camera Systems throughout the country. Whilst giving fleet managers more insight into bad driving behaviours, the integration of these cameras will provide fleet managers with quality video footage geared towards identifying risky behaviours exhibited by drivers that, otherwise, would not be documented by telematics.


  1. IoT applications in transport

Telematics have proven great with gathering data on fleet management. However, customer requirements are becoming more complex, making it difficult to run an efficient fleet with only the help of telematics. We’ve seen much innovation in IoT technology, with the integration between telematics and other platforms. This has expanded the use and value of telematics, but has also allowed fleets to foster better data quality and obtain an extensive understanding of fleet behaviour and requirements.


  1. Cybersecurity enhanced for data protection 

Cybersecurity is highly important for securing digital infrastructures, devices, and identities. According to the Cybersecurity Exposure Index (CEI), at the end of 2020 South Africa took 34th place in the rankings, with a score of 0,417 out of 1 (The higher the score, the higher the exposure). The index also revealed that Africa had the highest exposure score per country (0.643). The 2021 index is yet to show any new adjustments. In order for our fleets to offer clients complete authority and control over their data, SA has seen the adoption of intensive security audits, vulnerability scanning, multi-factor authentication services, and advanced, real-time fortigate reporting. 


  1. New e-hailing technology

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is a trend that is gaining momentum in the country. We are moving from traditional, personally-owned types of transport, towards new mobility solutions that consumers are becoming increasingly fond of. The South African minibus taxi industry is experiencing this shift the most. Public transport has become the cornerstone of ‘technology-driven mobility solutions’, with ‘ride-sharing services’ becoming popular in areas where public transport is a predominant source of travel. Here, tech is revolutionising transport infrastructure for low-income earners. As South Africa moves towards the creation of Smart Cities with Smart Technologies, transportation networks should see further upgrades as of 2025 and beyond. 


Top Features of Mobility Tech: 


  • App Travel
  • Design Control Frameworks
  • Real-Time Route Optimisation
  • Track and Trace Capabilities
  • Secure Mobile Payments
  • Digital ID Ecosystems
  • User-friendly Navigation Portals
  • Always-On Connectivity















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