Serco Looks to Second Half of the Year for Business Improvement


With the first six months of this year expected to be challenging for business in South Africa, truck body and trailer building company Serco is concentrating on optimising their vehicles for better payload, reduced running costs and improved durability.

All three areas offer cost savings which are so critical for transporters in today’s tough market conditions, says Serco CEO, Clinton Holcroft.

“We are engaging with our customers to identify ways in which we can assist with cost savings and improved transport-orientated objectives.

“Over  the  last  six  months  our  focus  has been on diversifying  our  product  range to grow our dry freight offerings and we’ve seen positive growth there but the refrigerated trailer  side is  definitely  feeling  the  pinch  of the  stagnant  economy.

“I am relatively confident however that there will be an improvement in the second half of this year based on interactions with a number of perishable goods transporters.”

Holcroft said Serco’s business was down 18% for December 2023 to February this year compared to the same period in 2022/23, with the trend looking likely to continue into March. This drop largely reflected the lower than expected refrigerated trailer sales.

On the positive side there had been a huge comparative increase in the number of quotes Serco had been asked to generate in January this year compared to last year – more than double over the same period.

“Whether all that materialises into new business we don’t know but it does bode well for the year ahead.” 

Holcroft agreed with the assessment that among the biggest factors restricting economic growth in South Africa were corruption, load shedding, crime and weak leadership, which are contributing to excessive unemployment.

“Without doubt there is an urgent need for an injection of government investment into infrastructure generally as well as into maintenance. We really need to see honest and competent people in government after the elections in May.”

He said a key issue raised by clients was the need for their truck and trailers to last longer. “With this in mind we have worked with our technical team and key global suppliers to develop innovative solutions to improve durability and performance of our truck and trailer bodies,” he said.

“This has included improving payload with the introduction of our Protec Lite trailer that is 700kg lighter than the standard offering, and the introduction last year of the premium panel technology Protec Plus refrigerated trailer – both are receiving positive feedback for durability and payload.

“With inquiries picking up, and our product offering broadening through innovation and diversification, we are geared to move into the second half of this year on the up and running,” added Holcroft.