Better life for logistics: Pursuing smarter logistics to overcome challenges facing the industry

Friday, 20th January 2023

As the market gained more sales momentum in 2022, steady growth was observed across all segments. A respectable 12%1 growth in total industry sales with 30 249 sales compared to 26 969 sales in 2021. UD Trucks Southern Africa's local sales figures show steady progress in the medium and heavy-duty segment, with a growth of 27%over the previous year.

As UD Trucks Southern Africa's Managing Director, Filip Van den Heede explains, it's not just about pure growth numbers, but aligning the business growth aspirations with our purpose, a Better Life, and even more important, meeting customer expectations.

COVID-19 crisis, global supply chain constraints weakened an already fragile economy in the last two years, however UD Trucks Southern Africa managed to keep the business buoyant, while growing significantly in emerging markets.

Overcoming challenges facing the industry

Our founder Kenzo Adachi’s vision to “make the trucks the world needs today” was actually a vision for smarter logistics. The world today needs less CO2 harmful emissions released into the

environment, which is why we launched the Quester and Croner Euro 5 models in 2022, and the Quon in 2019: ahead of local government regulations and manufactured in South Africa since then. Through these vehicles, which are much more fuel efficient, are fitted with SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) technology we have reduced COemissions as well as total cost of ownership. To date, we have produced and sold close to 1,000 Euro 5 units in South Africa, consistently staying one step ahead of local regulations and market demands. Keeping the tradition of a challenger and innovator.

Our journey never ends, later this year the Quon range will receive further upgrades that will improve vehicle safety. With innovation that puts people first, these safety enhancements are set to support a sustainable future. The new Quon safety features, including the traffic eye cruise control, put people first, helping us achieve Vision Zero - a future with no injuries, deaths or minor injuries from road collisions, and safety for drivers, communities, and other road users.

There are many challenges facing both industry and customers, and one of the most significant challenges is the rising cost of doing business. Consequently, we focus on providing solutions that will improve efficiency and profitability through our smart logistics approach. UD Connected Services helps us achieve this end goal, and our pioneering approach has resulted in enhancements set to limit fuel theft, provide a recovery solution, as well as ensure safety through alcohol detection. In a world of digitalization, the logistics industry will benefit significantly from these additional features.

Sustainable growth through continuous improvement

A reliable and knowledgeable workforce is key to innovation, and in 2022 we trained more than 2,000 delegates across our dealer network to improve their skills. Through this process, we guarantee our customers' uptime and ensure that they receive reliable, trustworthy service. Additionally, we went an extra mile and provided training to Diesel apprentices.

The success of our business depends on strong relationships with our network and on proven support that we provide to improve daily business operations, said Filip Van den Heede.

UD Trucks SA will also open over three new dealerships this year in strategic areas where we can better serve our customers and grow our brand to achieve excellent customer service. As a result of the brand-new facilities, we will be able to increase visibility of our holistic solution and increase our dealer footprint to over 40 locations across the country.

Logistics: a lifeblood of society

Vision 2030 was announced through the launch of Fujin and Raijin - an innovation roadmap addressing the need for connectivity, automation, and electromobility in logistics by 2030.  As part of our current fleet range, we already offer some of these features, such as the Connected Services, ESCOT technology, and Traffic Eye system, which address both automation and connectivity of our vehicles, making them an appropriate choice for meeting logistics challenges of today.

Globally, our headquarters in UD Trucks Japan, has been testing innovative solutions to drive operational efficiencies and digital transformation. The autonomous driving trial was conducted with Kobe Steel's Kakogawa Works using a heavy-duty Quon equipped with L4 autonomous driving technology2. A major goal of this initiative3 is to alleviate driver shortages at steel facilities and promote digital transformation in manufacturing and logistics. Visit to read more on the story.


*1NAAMSA monthly industry report

*2Level 4 vehicles can operate in self-driving mode under pre-defined conditions and will not operate unless required conditions are met. To ensure safety, the route will be off limits to people and driver safety will be present behind the wheel, able to intervene in the event of any unforeseen situation or emergency.   

*3 Initial Press Release – November 12, 2021

UD Trucks:

Kobe Steel:


Watch the autonomous driving trial:

UD Trucks Southern Africa

Through the years, UD Trucks SA has been contributing to poverty alleviation within communities it operates in as well as achieving other successes. Keno Adachi, our founder, leaves a legacy that runs deep in our culture, and the path he paved for our parent company in Japan to be able to support us and provide the solutions that were needed not only then, but are still relevant today. 

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