Business at the truck body and trailer-building company Serco improved in 2021 compared to the previous year, but it was still below that achieved in 2019, signalling a need for reforms to encourage growth in the South African economy.
This is according to Serco CEO Clinton Holcroft who said it had been a tremendously challenging time for the truck building sector as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to impact a variety of industries and the domestic economy.
“The company used the crisis to focus on driving cost reductions and streamlining processes to improve service levels while broadening the product range to create growth,” said Holcroft.
Serco is an insulated and dry freight truck body and trailer manufacturing company with branches in Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Gqeberha.
Holcroft, who estimates that the company has built more than 20 000 vehicles in its 40-year history, said although the improvement in revenue this year had been encouraging, sales were down 30% on 2019.
“To counter the reduction in sales, we broadened our product range to include more dry freight vehicle bodies and have seen good growth in this sector. We have also increased our fleet of rental refrigerated semi-trailers by 10 vehicles.”
He said a lot of potential customers had delayed orders due to a lack of availability of truck chassis caused by global supply chain shortages.
“A highlight of this year has been the development of a new design refrigerated interlink trailer offering improved volume and ease of use as well as design changes to our flagship ’Frostliner’ refrigerated bodies to increase payload and enhance the finish of the panels while raising sustainability standards further.
Holcroft said he hoped there would be further structural reforms to encourage growth and employment in the local economy. He advised that considering the dire need to reduce unemployment, possibly a Ministerial Advisory Committee similar to that used so effectively during Covid could be set up to focus on economic growth for South Africa.