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Gulfstream Energy and Vaal Truck Inn partnership impacts positively on South Africa’s transport industry

01 August 2014

Gulfstream Energy's recent branding and launch of the Vaal Truck Inn (VTI) truck stop, is South Africa's first by an independent fuel wholesaler. “With truck stops traditionally branded and supplied by leading oil companies, this is a significant milestone for local industry,” says Shane Jegels, Chairman and CEO, Gulfstream. Supplier of quality and innovative petroleum products, Gulfstream was retained in August 2013 as VTI's exclusive fuel supplier.

"Internationally we see the petroleum industry opening up to increased participation by independent wholesalers," continues Jegels. "It's not about competing with the larger oil companies, but rather about carving a niche for ourselves as independent wholesalers, working cooperatively with the larger players for the benefit of our country's fuel consumers."

Situated 115km from Johannesburg on the N3, VTI is rated by many as the best truck stop facility in Africa. Privately built and owned, VTI has been in the business of taking care of South Africa's bulk vehicle operators for a number of years. "Our primary objective is the safety and convenience of our customers," says Adriaan Odendaal, Co-Owner, VTI. "Our association with Gulfstream enables us to continue delivering on this."

In addition to its fuel products, the last few months has seen Gulfstream working with VTI to implement an integrated Point of Sale (POS) system. This enables customer refuelling to take place in a controlled, secure and managed way. "One of the greatest advantages is the price benefit we receive," says Odendaal. "Not only do we benefit from better pricing as a result of our relationship with Gulfstream, but in turn are able to pass that benefit onto our customers."

"We believe in ‘making business easy'," says Jegels. This covers a wide range of service delivery from essential components such as supplier reliability, on time, in full and at the best price possible through to innovative technology helping Gulfstream customers meet the needs of its own customers. "For example, VTI is one of only three truck stops on the N3 able to cater to Truck Fuel Network (TFN) customers," says Jegels. TFN, a private payment solution marketed around the country, makes use of a card to fill up with fuel in a managed and secure way providing tighter controls and management of refuelling for transport companies.

Whilst initially closely aligned to the Imperial Group, recent months has seen VTI open its facilities to the industry at large. "In addition to providing an environment for the safe, secure and controlled refuelling of trucks, as important is the comfort of South Africa's bulk vehicle operators," says Odendaal. VTI's 24/7 facilities include secure parking, a modern restaurant with freshly prepared food, recently revamped cloakroom amenities which include separate ablutions for female drivers, ATM, speed point and airtime facilities as well as a driver wellness clinic.

The next few months will see Gulfstream expand its offering to include Diesel 50PPM. "It's a cleaner burning fuel and better for the environment," says Jegels. "A lot of new trucks, such as the European models, require the use of Diesel 50PPM as part of upholding the manufacturer's warranty." Gulfstream is currently working with VTI to include this in its offering, thereby enabling VTI to both retain and grow its customer base.

"Retail is an important channel to market for Gulfstream, now and in the future," says Jegels. "Our partnership with VTI is significant, substantially growing our footprint in this sector." But it's about so much more than just the supply of petroleum products. "We founded Gulfstream to make a difference," continues Jegels. "It's about interacting with each customer, based on its unique requirements, and doing what we can to ensure the smooth operation and sustainability of its business."

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