The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight South Africa (SRF-SA) is a collaboration of research institutions working to decarbonize road freight transport in South Africa. Its main collaborating partners are Stellenbosch University, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), CSIR, and the University of the Western Cape (UWC). The collaborating partners bring together a broad range of expertise in vehicle dynamics, road safety, mechanical engineering, rail and road logistics, transport economics, industrial engineering, transport regulation, battery expertise and materials development, and represent the country’s premier scientific research and development expertise in these fields. Fundamental to the centre’s objectives is collaboration with industry, and the SRF-SA has a growing number of collaborating partners. These include Michelin who has been a subscribing industry member supporting the centre’s research since 2019. The structure of the centre is illustrated below.
The SRF-SA was founded in 2018 on the same principles as the original Centre for Sustainable Road Freight in the UK (the SRF-UK) which comprises the Universities of Cambridge, Heriot-Watt and Westminster. The two centres are joined by a common mission and share tools, data, and expertise. We also form part of the ‘global SRF family’ of collaborating centres including the SRF-India, and the Smart Freight Vehicle and Green Logistics (SFVGL) in China.
The SRF-SA is funded by a combination of research grants and annual subscriptions from industry partners. To date this has included a £50,000 grant from the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) via the Newton Fund programme (2019-2021), another £80,000 grant from the RAEng via the Engineering X programme (2021-2023), annual subscription contributions from Michelin, and support in kind from several industry participants on a per-project basis. Project highlights include full-scale truck tests of low-rolling resistance tyres, hosting of a successful Smart Transport Manager Training course via the Smart Freight Centre, freight modelling to promote modal shift, integration of bi-modal freight bogie technologies, electrified urban freight delivery, and high capacity vehicles.