The German-patronised “Indian” truck maker is the favoured marque of Sri Ram Transport of Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu; says BharatBenz makes the correct choice of equipment for construction-oriented tipping operations.
After a retrograded phase in the past couple of years, the Indian medium- and heavy-duty tipper market is finally rejoicing a breath of fresh air. The demand for these trucks are not price-driven, but are largely dependent on the health of infrastructure and construction sectors. The latest bout of government-led investments on infrastructure and increasing per-day road construction targets have given a new lease of life to this segment. Renewed demand from the mining sector in some states have also helped the cause. The dampening impacts of BS-IV implementation has subdued, the demand has bounced back on account of higher mining, road construction and allied activities. The recent trend of market demand of pre-owned BS III trucks has bypassed the tipper segment, as tipper operations call for optimum uptime and reliability, which cannot be assured in used vehicles.
Further, dormant growth in sales owing to GST implementation is also mending up, those who postponed their purchases due to lack of clarity on taxation and accounting changes are back to the purchasing spree. On the whole, industry experts agree that the nation-wide demand for tipper is steadily soaring up to a rough figure of around 50,000 units annually. Moreover, in terms of product diversity, the tipper segment in India is no more duopolistic in nature. Newer brands like that of BharatBenz are fast catching-up, with almost every truck maker offering tippers especially in the 25-tonne capacity category. There is also a clear shift towards higher GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) and power output rating in this segment, as dumpers are preferred for carrying large volumes over shorter distances as against small trucks.
The `Superiority´ factor
Tamil Nadu is traditionally a tipper market, with numerous operators and fleets using a sizable number of tippers for both mining and road construction. The Tiruchirappalli region, in particular, is packed with sand mining and cement production-related activities, for which dumper trucks are lifelines. Sri Ram Transport is one of the leading fleet in this region catering to cements and sand transportation for road construction activities. Led by its proprietor Mr. B. Subburam who has tipper experience for over 20 years, the company now owns 10 BharatBenz 2523C 6×4 dump trucks, including 4 units of latest BS IV models. To achieve 100 percent BharatBenz-only tipper fleet, the company is also planning to acquire 25 more units of the same truck before the end of this financial year.
Why BharatBenz? Mr. Subburam answers, “I have owned over 400 dumpers of different brands in my two-decades of trucking business, Daimler trucks are unique and unparalleled in terms of rugged built, engine reliability, and cabin features. They are a notch above all other brands in the segment”. He explains that managing a fleet of heavy-duty application trucks like tippers isn´t an easy task, as they terribly call for constant maintenance and the downtime is usually high comparing to haulage trucks. Their running costs are usually a nightmare for any operator.
“The feel-good factor in owning BharatBenz is that though the spare and service costs per instance is high, the long-run affordability of regular maintenance is advantageous. Longer and synchronized service intervals offer optimal uptime for the tippers, and the frequency of lubrication and oil replacements are comparatively less. The propensity of its components to fail is also far lower and exceeds the usual cycle”, he observes. Sri Ram Transport employs all its 2523C tippers in road construction activities, for delivering sand and cement from local stock yards. “At times, they shunt between the sites day and night in multiple shifts, crossing a variety of roads from broken quarry roads to national highways and city roads. The superior engineering and technology of Daimler has made them reliable workhorses that are up and running in any given point of time” adds Mr. Subburam.
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The BS IV-compliant DE 175 engine of BharatBenz 2523C tippers offer almost 90 percent of maximum power and peak torque within engine speeds as low as 900 rpm, thereby ensuring enhanced pickup and gradeability in crawler gears. “Fuel efficiency is exemplary and sets new standards” observes Mr. Subburam, thanks to advanced engine technologies like unitized fuel injection pump system, high-boost turbo charger, SCR, constant throttle valve engine brake, etc. “The Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is an added cost for BS IV trucks, but we are happy that the emissions are controlled and fuel-economy is improved” he added.
Responsive Service Network
Apart from managing Sri Ram Transport, Mr. Subburam is also the regional dealer for JK Tyres and runs a JK Tyre Truck Wheels workshop at Tiruchirappalli. Of course, his BharatBenz tipper fleet uses only JK Tyres and he is quite happy with their performance as well. For periodic service and technical assistance, he trusts the local BharatBenz dealer Jayaraj Trucking. “Being in the trucking industry for quite some time has taught us a lot about tipper maintenance, ascertaining technical problems, spare replacement cycle, etc., and people will find it extremely difficult to hoodwink us in this regard. Jayaraj Trucking is a professionally sound and responsive team, an essential value partner in our tipper operations” observes Mr. Subburam. Even when our trucks called for assistance from farther hinterlands, Jayaraj roadside and mobile assistance team did their best to put them back on running in no time, he added.
Asked on the popularity of BharatBenz tippers in the region, Jayaraj Trucking told us that they are the market leaders in terms of annual sales. “The 25-tonne capacity tipper segment is one of the fastest growing in the region, with the BharatBenz 2523C model taking up a majority of share in total sales. This model is specifically designed for 25-tonne tipper load limit legally permissible on city roads and flyovers. Fleets and contract operators in the road construction sector show great interest in this dumper model” notes Mr. Ajay Jayaraj, Director and CEO, Jayaraj Trucking. One-Stop and express service is the motto of DICV, and that puts us in the pedestal of tipper market, he adds.
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*An edited version of this article has been published in the November & December 2017 (combined) edition of MotorIndia Magazine.