It is now just on a month since the province of KwaZulu-Natal experienced those devastating floods which resulted in the tragic deaths of over 440 people and caused wide-spread damage to houses, businesses and infrastructure. While the main-stream media understandably focused mainly on the human tragedy of the floods – little attention was given to the loss of trucks. It was huge – and the numbers are now coming through.
One of the companies tasked with the recovery of trucks was Truck & Cargo, a company which provides truck and cargo salvage solutions to the insurance industry. Speaking to Jacques Brand, managing director of the company, as of today – May 6th – they already had 150 trucks in their yards which they had recovered themselves or collected from other tow-truck operators on behalf of insurers; and they are still coming in at the rate of three or four a day.
“Lots of trucks are still sitting at repairers, panelbeaters and dealers being checked by the insurance assessors to see if they can be economically repaired. Once the decision is taken that a truck is unrepairable, we then collect it and once all the paper-work is sorted, we will then put it on our weekly auctions on behalf of the insurer.” The first batch of flood-damaged vehicles will be going on auction on Wednesday May 11th.
The accompanying pictures show some of the trucks damaged in the floods which have been assessed and deemed to be economically irreparable. They will be put on Truck & Cargo’s auctions and sold on behalf of the insurers. Many will be bought for spares while others, especially those where the water never reached the heights of the dashboards where the electronics are housed, may have better prospects of being repaired by buyers.
And here’s the shocking news. Brand says that word from two major insurance companies for which they provide salvage solutions is that the total number of flood damaged trucks that they expect to be written off is estimated to total over 350. And that’s just from two insurance companies.
“We’ve already had to source overflow yards to accommodate the incoming trucks as my Pietermaritzburg yard is full,” he says. And the same goes to warehouse space as there was substantial losses to cargo – not only on loaded trucks that were caught in the floods but also to warehouses that got flooded. “’We’ve cleared out four warehouses already,” says Brand.
The losses are huge and come at a time when stock shortages from manufacturers as a result of the global supply chain hic-cups that came about due to the Covid-19 pandemic are still not unravelled. Replacements will therefore not be immediate. So we’re not only seeing damage to trucks but to the industry as a whole. It’s massive.