It is common for humanitarian agencies manage a fleet of vehicles (cars, vans or motorbikes) to transport people. Agencies specialised in humanitarian logistics may also have to manage a fleet of trucks to regularly transport goods, water or construction materials. This chapter mainly focuses in the management of light vehicle fleets used for the transport of people. For complementary considerations and technical information related to cargo transport, such as cargo configuration, route planning and scheduling or documentation for goods transport, please refer to the road transport chapter.
Alternatives to Vehicle Fleet Management
|Other Humanitarian Agencies|
It is very common for humanitarian agencies to operate simultaneously in certain locations. Pooling resources is a simple manner of optimising costs and recovering an investment. This is valid not only for transportation but also for common fleet facilities or resources, like a mechanical garage, a mechanic or a communications/radio room for movement tracking.
For sporadic use of other agencies vehicles, sharing of information and basic coordination mechanisms might be sufficient. In situations where agencies might make regular use of other agency fleet resources, both parties are strongly recommended to formalise partnerships through a Memorandum of Understanding, clearly outlying the benefits of the shared resources and clarifying the terms of accessing it. The contribution of each agency should grant equitable share of management efforts and expenditures.
|Collective Public Transportation|
In some locations collective transportation can result useful and cost-effective for moving people at regional or national level. This method can cover sporadic travels through safe routes not regularly covered by the agency. In addition, public road collective transport companies usually offer the service of transporting small parcels at low rates which can be useful in certain occasions.
Safety of public use vehicles and reliability of the service are major concerns when assessing collective public transportation means, and should be specifically evaluated for each candidate company offering the service. This is especially important in developing countries. Overall condition of the vehicles and availability of the basic safety means, maintenance routines, loading of the vehicle and drivers’ capabilities are some of the basic parameters to assess.
|Individual Public Transportation (Taxi)|
In urban settings, the use of taxis is one of the most common individual transport means. A taxi's flexibility, affordability and ease of management make of it a very good alternative or complement for the organisation’s fleet in urban operations. Taxies can be very useful for managing unplanned requests, and for scaling-up of transport based on need.
Safety and reliability of the taxi service are main concerns and should be specifically evaluated for each candidate company offering the service.
Where taxi companies are not well established or are not reliable, agreements with a specific pool of trustworthy taxi-drivers can be a solution. This is a common practice to cover the transport to and from the airport. This kind of agreements allow extended services such as prolonged stand-by time, wearable visibility from the agency, transport of goods, or handover of necessary material at arrival or departure such as mobile phone or keys.
|Third-party Transport Providers|
Although third-party transport providers are usually specialised in the transport of goods, in some locations they can also be trusted for the transport of people. The transport of people privately operated is mostly handled by renting companies that hire vans, minibuses or coaches with driver. This solution for transporting people is a suitable alternative for punctual and specific needs such as events gathering a significant number of people or for preventative security evacuations.
When regularly using third-party transport providers, a framework agreement can be useful to ease the management process. It is strongly recommended to include particular terms and conditions related to safety in the agreement and to duly assess that they are respected prior to the delivery of each service.
The topic on rental of light vehicles (with or without driver) is covered below.
All these workflows should be monitored - individually and as a whole (fleet) - ensuring due performance, proper balance and adjusting when required. Overuse of resources and mechanical failure, burnout of drivers and bad behaviour, or discontent among the passengers are typical symptoms of fleet dysfunctions that should be addressed. All four of the main categories flow into a fifth basic work stream: Monitoring.
Fleet Management Functions
Fleet management can be looked at as a sequential set of steps. This overview is especially advisable when the scale of a fleet is large and when an agency owns of most of the fleet related assets and services.
2. Selection and acquisition
5. Maintenance and repair
7. Decommissioning and replacing
Fleet planning is a key strategic activity used to shape fleets and their corresponding management model to support adequate and sustainable solutions to organisational needs. Fleet planning encompasses the operational, technical, administrative and financial dimensions of individual organisations, and therefore tends to be very organisational specific.
The basic considerations in choosing the most suitable passenger vehicle are related with its intended purpose, the number of passengers requiring simultaneous use, and length and frequency of the journeys. Three main options are to be considered at this first stage: motorbike, light vehicle or van/minibus. If transporting cargo, the required cargo capacity should be anticipated. Vehicles with independent trunk or hybrid solutions such as pick-up vehicles can be considered. Visit the road transport chapter for more information on cargo truck selection. The operating context, environmental and road conditions will affect the decision and determine technical requirements of the vehicle such as 4WD, air conditioning, or other extra features. Availability of spare parts in the local market and local knowledge and capacity to achieve all type of maintenance and repairs is also an important factor to consider.
- Km reading
- Fuel level
- Engine (Noise, leakage, smoke)
- Lubrication System (Leakage, filters, pressure)
- Cooling System (Leakage, radiator, liquid, fan, belt)
- Air admission & injection (Air filter, fuel filter)
- Exhaust System (fixing, leakage)
- Fuel Tank (leakage, pipes)
- Brake System (leaks, noise, pedal, parking brakes)
- Suspension (soft/hard, springs, shock absorbers-bushes)
- Tyres (pressure, tread, state and spare wheel)
- Chassis (Cracks, fastening)
- Body (impacts, bumpers, bonnet)
- Doors (windows, hinges, adjustment, locks)
- Visibility (windshield, mirrors, sun visors)
- Seats (seat belts, fastening)
- Electrical System (battery, starter motor, front and rear lights, Indicators, roof lights, dashboard warning/indicators, wiping system, horn)
- Availability of Jacks & Tools
- Administrative Documents (Registration, Chassis & Engine Nº, Vehicle insurance)
- A guide for users to mark where physical damages might show on the body:
A template for a daily physical inspection might look like:
Adapted from IFRC
It is required to cross-check the vehicle identification (chassis number and engine number) with the administrative documents and the owner identification. Any uncertainty about the ownership or mismatch between the vehicle and the presented documentation should immediately disqualify the vehicle from service.
Equally important to the mechanical condition of the rental vehicle are the rental driver’s health condition, driving skills, administrative permits, driving and working behaviour and required knowledge to operate the vehicle in the required context, such as speaking local language and the geography that will be travelled. For further information on this matter, refer to the below section on recruitment: selecting and testing drivers.
If rental of vehicles is a long-term strategy, consider keeping a pool of “rental” drivers that can be engage upon request. Validating and instructing batches of several drivers in a single session will reduce the time spent in this important activity.
Blantyre - Lilongwe
LAST UPDATE: 24/5/2010
Cross M1 - M6
police station + 1st petrol station
Cross M1 / M5 / M8
Border Ntcheu DC
Capital District - Hospital DC
Police station + border Malawi-Moç
Diversion secondary Rd to Mangochi
Police station + petrol station
Border Lilongwe DC
Police station + petrol station
The road-book has indications or milestones based on data points form along the route: distance, time and other relevant information for the journey, such as communications coverage, hospitals, police stations, petrol stations, etc. Road-books can also help for briefing during driver’s induction or to determine communication points for movement tracking purposes.
Before starting the vehicle engine for first use in the day, the driver should take 10 minutes to check:
After starting the vehicle, the driver should listen for abnormal noises, check indicators, lighting and dashboard warning lights, and look for the presence of all required equipment.
Once per week (recommended at the end of the week), the driver should take 1 hour to:
In case of any identified problems, the driver should record them in the vehicle logbook and inform the fleet manager, who will evaluate the scale of the damage and to plan all relevant arrangements.
For an overview of self-managed fuel supplies, please review the section on stocking and managing fuel at the end of this guide.
Movements in Unknown Areas
Movement of Dangerous Goods
Transport of Valuable Assets
Transport of Special Passengers (patients, kids, human remains, etc.)
Armoured Vehicles (AVs)
In addition to vehicle fleet management, other aspects may be considered when managing a fleet of vehicles. The most pertinent could be the management of special stocks and the environmental impact of the fleet. When managing a fleet of vehicles, it may be useful to stock particular commodities such as fuel and spare parts. The information in this section is complementary to the chapters on sections on physical stock management and on dangerous goods. Rather than focusing in safety issues, the content below is more related to the good conditioning and management of stocks for optimal use:
Bottled gas for fridge, heating, etc.
Bottled gas for fridge, heating, etc.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas
Gas used for car fuel, (adapted engine)
Very volatile, fluid, blue colour, same smell as petrol. Very flammable, explosive. Can be used in a petrol engine with 3% oil added
Volatile, fluid, colourless (or almost). Very flammable, explosive. Cannot be replaced by diesel, but can replace Avgas in some aircraft. Various octane indices between regular and super
Turbine engine aircraft
Same as for Paraffin but with aeronautical specifications: Filtering, packing and storing.
PETROLE (Lampant), PARAFFINE (Canada)
KEROSENE (Lamp oil)
KEROSENE (Lamp oil), PARAFFIN (Oil)
Lamps, fridges, burner, etc.
Colourless, specific smell. Fuel for so-called “lamp oil” equipment
Greasy, yellowish, frequently coloured, heavy smell. When pure, solidifies at -5°C and requires an additive (or 20% lamp oil). This also acts as the injection pump lubricant.
FUEL, FIOUL, MAZOUT
FUEL OIL, PARAFFIN
Same as diesel without additives for low temperatures and lubrication
Greasy, different viscosities for different uses
Heavy combustible for marine engines and power plants
CRUDE PETROLEUM, KEROSENE
ROCK OIL, PARAFFIN
Adapted from MSF
Managing Spare Parts
 Adapted from MSF Checklist for vehicle rental.