Safety First for Trucks Operated by Chemtrax

Created: 13.August 2020

Chemtrax Sdn Bhd takes delivery of five units of Volvo trucks for the transportation of hazardous goods.

Volvo Trucks announced recently that one of its customers, Johor-based transportation company Chemtrax Sdn Bhd (Chemtrax), has just taken delivery of five units of Volvo trucks comprising four units of FM370 4x2 and one unit of FM440 6x2 models, to support the company’s expansion and also for replacing several old trucks in its fleet. These new trucks will be utilized for transporting caustic soda chemical compounds and butadiene gas.

A vehicle handover ceremony attended by the management teams of both companies was held recently at Chemtrax’s depot in Pasir Gudang to mark the official delivery of the new Volvo trucks. With these new additions, Chemtrax now owns 55 units of Volvo trucks, which makes up about 90% of the company’s total fleet of trucks. Mitch Peden, Managing Director, Volvo Trucks Malaysia shared, “We are very pleased to be able to continuously provide the support our customer, Chemtrax, requires from us with the delivery of the new trucks despite the current challenging market situation.”

Speaking at the truck handover ceremony, Jaffar Abu Bakar, Group Managing Director of Chemtrax Sdn Bhd said, “We have more than 20 years of experience in handling hazardous materials and have been providing transportation services to companies like Petronas, CCM Chemicals, Kaneka, Solar Gaz and other global companies like IVICT, INEOS and Synthomer. These companies all subscribe to very stringent global standards of safety which we are highly committed to.” He added that the company’s transport routes consist of both long and short haul deliveries within all over Peninsula Malaysia, as well as to Singapore with around 15 trips daily into the island.

Transporting dangerous goods requires safe trucks and one can ask which safety features make the trucks most suitable for this type of operation. Volvo is among the very few brands in the Malaysian market that conforms with all aspects of the ADR regulation covering all substances that are inflammable, toxic or corrosive. The truck’s electrical system is encapsulated and protected
against mechanical wear and that electrical connections are fitted with sealed connections.

The cab front is fitted with a retainer for a warning sign indicating the type of hazardous goods being transported. This is very important in minimizing the risk of sparking and short-circuiting that can potentially cause a fire and explosion due to the goods carried. Some of the oil companies in Malaysia have made this a mandatory requirement for the trucks which carry their products.
In addition, the built and durability of the truck: in case of a collision involving dangerous goods truck , the impact is potentially huge. Thus the truck needs to be able to withstand a good collision impact and minimize casualties and injuries. Volvo Trucks comply with the Swedish safety standard imposed, which is higher than what is set by the European Union.

Volvo Engine Brake (VEB), which is a patented system owned by Volvo Trucks is also playing a crucial role contributing to effective braking, and reduces the reliability on the conventional braking system. Apart from safety reason, this also helps to reduce brake wear and tear.

Not just the product that makes Volvo stands out, but the aftersales service and dealer network that can supports the transporter timely in getting their trucks on the road as soon as possible. On top of that, driver training also plays a role. This is going beyond the truck features and how to handle the truck in the most efficient manner (in terms of fuel saving and minimizing wear and tear), but continuously instil the awareness of safety driving tips, and the skills on defensive driving. These need to be refreshed from time to time to shape the driving behaviour. ”Last year we have launched a series of enhanced safety features named as the Active Safety Package, which consists of features such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Warning and Emergency Brake, Lane Change Support, Driver Alert Support etc. All these aims to make driving easy by supporting the driver having a better awareness of their surroundings, and protect other road users as well,” Peden elaborated. These features are targeted especially at the dangerous goods segment, aiming to reduce the risk of accidents and the impact on the driver, road users, and also the environment. This is also useful for long-haul haulage transporters, to keep their attention on the road while driving, and reduce fatique.

Peden reinforces that ”Everybody recognizes that when comes to safety aspects, Volvo is always the top of mind answer in most people’s choice.” Established in 1998, Chemtrax is one of the leading transportation companies in Malaysia that specialises in the moving of hazardous chemical and gas products such as acids, alkalis, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), water-based chemicals and other flammable and toxic gases.

The company transports these products within Malaysia and Singapore using various types of road tankers such as stainless-steel tanker, special-lined tanker and high-pressured gas tanker to meet the diverse and strict requirements for each hazardous material it transports. “We carry Dangerous and Hazardous goods every day, all products are potentially very harmful to the people and environment,” said Jaffar Abu Bakar. Therefore Management has set a control mechanism in place so that all risks are well identified and develop continuous control on it. The Key management controls are :

1) Driver management: Stringent the SOP of driver recruitment. Age limit, PDRM scanning, medical check up, literacy check and others. Chemtrax provides a lot of training that involves not just the product itself, but also fatigue management, pre-delivery check to the vehicle, defensive driving techniques, road surveillance by own safety team etc.

2) Journey management : designated route to be travelled by drivers and develop journey management plan so that drivers plan their journey well. Emphasis on driver resting period and speed monitoring too.

3) Asset maintenance management: Purchase OEM spare parts, monitor truck routine schedule, periodically check on tire axle bearing, safety equipment check.

4) Safety management: GPS monitoring, Dashboard camera installation to monitor driver’s activity, Reporting each incident and carry out investigation to foster learning processes, installation of safety padlock to monitor product loading and unloading.

He said further that “By having these management controls, the potential product hazards are well defined. We also give good training to drivers to understand the danger of the product and proper way of handling them.”

Chemtrax is looking for driver comfortability while driving; this helps them retaining the good drivers, and to attract the talents – in view of the driver shortage, which is serious as some would have opted to work in Singapore due to exchange rate benefits. Here, Volvo meets the need based on drivers’ positive feedback. Apart from that, the truck’s stability contributes to minimise truck over
turn during high impact.

Chemtrax has set their own parameters when it comes to purchase considerations for trucks:

1)Comfortability of the vehicle
2) Updated/ latest technology
3) After sale service performance
4) Fuel consumption performance - CPK
5) The second-hand value of the truck
6) Price
7) Maintenance CPK

”The Volvo driver trainer will train our drivers in practical and theoretical sessions. Volvo also conducts the Train The Trainer programme, whereby our senior driver can then train colleagues. With Volvo’s level of support and parts availability, we have been able to significantly minimise truck downtime and business risk. Our aim is to continue to be the preferred choice of transporter amongst chemical and gas manufacturers in Malaysia, thus the trucks we buy play a crucial role,” said Jaffar Abu Bakar.