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Vehicle Management

Discussion in 'Biashara, Uchumi na Ujasiriamali' started by Njowepo, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Njowepo

    Njowepo JF-Expert Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Joined: Feb 26, 2008
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    Vehicle Management

    I. Planning Vehicle Needs
    II. Sourcing Vehicles
    III. Driving for Safe Vehicle Operation
    IV. Fuel and Maintenance Facilities
    V. Servicing, Maintenance and repair
    VI. Fuel Management

    Planning Vehicle Needs
    • Assessing needs
    • Choosing the right vehicles
    • Choosing your specificationsRunning costs
    • Planning for vehicle renewal
    • Non-motorised transport
    • Supply options
    Planning vehicle needs involves not only calculating which types of vehicle are required, but also what vehicles can be operated and maintained in the area of work. This section gives a guide to some of the main points to take into consideration.
    Sample forms, agreements and checklists may be downloaded from the Logistics Resources Bank.
    Assessing needs
    Is the vehicle really needed? For what, for whom and for how long? How many are required to do the job? How much is in the budget (or do we need to budget) for vehicle operation and maintenance? What are the supply options?
    A range of people will be able to offer information and views - such as the programme manager, logistician or vehicle manager, drivers, programme staff.
    Key areas to take into account include: the operating conditions (eg road conditions, climate, security); the kind of programme and expected vehicle use; current vehicle supply; available infrastructure (fuel, service, parts etc) and your organisation's current transport management systems. The basic assessment checklist gives an overview of these points and can be adapted to individual circumstances.
    Choosing the right vehicles
    What makes and models would be appropriate for your needs? A few points to bear in mind:
    1. Standardising the fleet: having the same vehicle makes / models is likely to make management and maintenance easier and more economical.
    2. Using vehicles that are available and maintained locally: parts are more likely to be available, and workshops will be familiar with the vehicles.
    3. Diesel or petrol engine: Diesel costs less, has a lower fire risk and is seen as more reliable than petrol. A petrol engine may be preferable if diesel isn't available.
    4. Engine size: you need to select the right size for the size of job. An engine that's too big could lead to speeding and dangerous driving if drivers are inexperienced.
    5. Two or four wheel drive? It's worth remembering that two wheel drives consume less fuel than their 4x4 equivalent. 4x4s require more specialised maintenance and extra spare parts.
    6. Long or short wheelbase? A longer wheelbase is more stable on poor roads, and can carry more.
    7. Availability of vehicles on the local market. Local transport companies may have spare vehicles they are willing to sell.
    8. Availability of fuel and spare parts. See: fuel management and maintenance
    Choosing your specifications
    Key questions are: what make is best? What specifications are suitable for the job? Is it always necessary to use a landcruiser when a small vehicle might do? Or would a motor bike do instead of a car?
    Vehicle specification checklist
    Motorbike specification checklist
    If you find from your assessment that you need to purchase trailers, here are a few further points for consideration:
    Are the roads and bridges suitable to drive on with trailers?
    Do your drivers have experience of driving with trailers?
    What are the regulations in the country regarding the weight and length of truck-trailer combinations?
    What type of trailer is needed? Can the trucks be operated with trailers or would tractor-trailers be better? Can the trailer be transported on the truck on empty runs? Ensure there are air- brakes, a towing hook, extra fuel tanks and spare wheels. Particular attention must be paid to the tow-bar strength and number of axles.
    Running costs
    Costs to take into account are:
    • The initial capital cost
    • Depreciation and what the sell-on value might be
    • Fixed costs (e.g. taxes and insurance)
    • Variable costs (i.e. related to utilisation of the vehicle)
    • Running costs (e.g. fuel and maintenance)
    • Indirect costs (e.g. accidents)
    • Human resources (includes salaries, testing and training of personnel involved in operating and maintaining vehicles)
    Planning for vehicle renewal
    At the same time as planning to purchase new (or second hand) vehicles, it is advisable to plan ahead to the time when they need to be replaced. Some of the factors that influence the timing of vehicle renewal include:
    The value of the vehicle or its resale value as compared with the cost of repairs. Costs to take into account are: maintenance and running costs and projected repair costs. These can be compared to the resale value. When the estimated repair costs are more than 75% of the vehicle's value, this is the time to think about replacing it.
    Ability to sell the vehicle. This depends among other things on whether or not your organisation has tax-free status. The country's regulations will need to be checked.
    Importing a replacement vehicle duty free. Again, the regulations will need to be checked.
    Monthly performance and costs.
    Value of second hand vehicles
    The cost of unreliability. As vehicles come to the end of their useful life, they become more unreliable and spend more time being repaired than on the road - which means that costs soar (and are recorded in the monthly records). There comes a point where this lack of reliability starts to have a detrimental effect on programmes. As assessment of reliability is important - it indicates when the vehicle should be renewed for budgetary purposes and what kind of vehicle should replace it.
    Non-motorised transport
    If road conditions are poor or non-existent bicycles, carts or other animal transport may be most appropriate. See for example

    Sourcing Vehicles

    On this page:
    • Sourcing options
    • Rent or buy?
    • Rental
    • Buying second hand
    • Shipping and customs
    • Loan or donation
    • Donor conditions
    Vehicles (whether light or heavy) are likely to take up a significant portion of your budget. Where do you find the best deal?
    Sample forms, agreements and checklists may be downloaded from the Logistics Resources Bank
    Sourcing options
    When looking for the best source, how to get the best prices and best delivery times are likely to be key considerations - but also whether it's necessary to buy. Vehicles can be:
    • Rented locally
    • Loaned from another organisation or programme
    • Redeployed from another operation
    • Purchased (new or second hand)
    • Donated
    • Provided by the government
    Rent or buy?
    Consider the following factors:
    1. Expected length of operation. If the expected length of the operation is short, (3 - 6 months), or the situation is very unstable, it may be better to rent, loan or re-deploy rather than purchase vehicles, because of high initial costs.
    2. Comparative costs. Compare the cost of renting vehicles with the cost of purchasing them (including delivery costs). Consider purchasing second-hand vehicles if they are in good enough condition.
    3. Servicing and other benefits. Take into account that renting vehicles will include servicing and other benefits (such as drivers, insurance) which would need to be separately arranged if the vehicles are re-deployed, purchased, or loaned;
    4. Time. Purchasing new vehicles can be very time consuming, because of long delivery times (in the case of heavy duty vehicles for relief operations this can take up to 8 months).
    Renting a vehicle minimises the outlay of capital sums and over a short period can work out cheaper than buying. To make sure that the vehicle is reliable and safe, it is advisable to discuss your requirements with the provider and have a written vehicle rental agreement with them. You may want to ask the driver to be tested and have the vehicle examined for serviceability. See also in the resource bank: checklist for rental agreement.
    If your rent vehicles on on a daily basis irrespective of distance travelled or fuel used, days used and payments can be recorded in a daily rent vehicle log.
    Buying second hand
    Buying second hand can be relatively quick and cheap. Social networks are often very useful for finding vehicles. Wherever you are buying from - whether from a local supplier, INGO or UN agency - it's always a good idea to check their reliability. Where possible, get a detailed maintenance history and get the vehicle checked by an independent mechanic.
    A second hand vehicle checklist gives a guide on the areas of the vehicle to check, and what to look for.
    Shipping and customs
    The government may also have rules on what vehicle types can be brought in. It's also advisable to check vehicle duty and taxes well in advance.
    Customs procedures can be lengthy and it's worth discussing with other organisations before importing. Government regulations may require that the shipping is handled by local clearing agents.
    Loan or donation
    When vehicles are loaned or donated, make sure you have a written agreement with the person or organisation providing them. This would need to specify the vehicle details (license plate, make, type, chassis number, engine number, year of construction, colour, km reading, any visible damage, inventory), and the conditions under which the loan or donation is made.
    Donor conditions
    Funding for vehicles sometimes comes with conditions attached - a vehicle make may be specified, or you may be required to buy from the donor country. If you're concerned that this could lead to an inappropriate purchase, it may be possible to re-negotiate.

    Driving for Safe Vehicle Operation

    On this page:
    • Recruitment, Training and Learning
    • Daily inspections
    • Safe driving
    • Driving Conditions
    • Security Awareness
    • Land mines
    • Understand your Vehicle
    Following, practicing and adhering to correct vehicle operation procedures is essential for road safety. The responsibility lies with everyone. This section sets out some of the key issues.
    Sample forms, agreements and checklists may be downloaded from the Logistics Resources Bank.
    Recruitment, Training and Learning

    An effective driver recruitment and training process is a key element of road safety. In countries where the initial level of driver training is poor, this is essential. Further training and regular assessment after drivers have been employed will help them to get to a standard where they operate their vehicles effectively, efficiently and safely.
    When interviewing drivers, include a test on the relevant vehicle.
    1. Driving test observation
    2. Driving test sheet
    Remember that a test only lets the examiner know if the driver has the skills to handle a vehicle. You also need to assess attitude and self-awareness. A driver's ability to reflect on past mistakes is key to improving their driving ability. Here's another driver evaluation form.
    Learning from mistakes
    To quote from Roadcraft, The Police Drivers Handbook:
    if you have had an accident for which you could be held at least partially responsible, you are 4 times more likely to have a similar accident in the next year. This is because if you think that you did not help to cause an accident, you will also think you have nothing to learn from it, and your driving technique, together with any fault that contributed to the accident, will remain unchanged.
    Drivers should be tested annually to determine the continuance of correct practices and physical condition (eyesight).
    Training Schools
    Provide training as needed to bring each driver up to a professional standard. Training should not be seen as a one off exercise but should be regularly refreshed. These links should be useful:
    All Terrain Driving course (ZRI)

    Internal training capacity
    Experienced drivers can provide training to others. Moving them into a training role helps provide continuous assessment and learning, plus it offers career enhancement, which is not often open to drivers and can be a positive force in the organization.
    Daily inspections

    Daily vehicle inspections should be carried out by drivers, and monitored by the line manager. Preventive maintenance is crucial for safety, reliability and economic use of the vehicle.
    Safe driving

    All staff need to be aware of and follow policies on safe driving. It's not just drivers who are responsible - their managers and passengers also have a role.
    Vigilance by passengers is important, since in many situations - particularly insecure environments - the driver cannot see everything.

    To learn more about the magnitude of road related accidents in developing countries - click here. The World Health Organisation have a page devoted to this subject, here.
    Key policy points include:
    • Safety belts worn at all times, in front and rear seats
    • Drivers not to drive under the influence of alcohol
    • Set speed limits for built up areas, open roads, cross-country
    • Procedure for reporting accidents
    • If authorization for night driving is required
    • Rest periods on long journeys
    • Picking up passengers - take account of the security and political context
    • Crash helmets worn at all times when riding motorcycles or quads
    • Pull over when using communications equipment
    Aid Workers Exchange: How to Prevent Vehicle Rollover (Mick Farmer)
    For a complete driving philosophy that defines what makes a good driver and the habits and attitude that you need to develop to become a good driver, see:[ame=""] Roadcraft - The Police Drivers Handbook[/ame].
    The Institute of Advanced Motorists has a set of Factsheets, here.
    The US State Department has produced a useful Drive Safety Briefing for Turkey (although its content is generally applicable in developing countries)
    Driving Conditions

    Stopping distances are as important to respect when driving on an unsealed (dirt / laterite) road as on tarmac. Generally when driving on an unsealed road your stopping distance doubles!
    Snow and extreme cold, sand, heavy rain, extreme heat and altitude all have a bearing on how the car performs, and on road conditions.
    A few tips when driving when through water. Although targeting a UK audience, the information provided is generic.
    Tips for all these driving conditions can be found at:[ame=""][/ame][ame=""][/ame]
    Here's a guide to severe driving.
    Security Awareness

    See: Vehicle Safety and Travel Security, from Operational Security Management in Violent Environments, by Koenraad Van Brabant. (HPN Good Practice Review 8)
    See this Aid Workers Exchange article on Vehicle and Convoy Security
    Land mines

    Land mines are a hazard in many countries. Make sure that drivers are fully briefed on the key issues and are trained in the relevant driving techniques. It may also be wise to consider fitting anti mine blankets onto the vehicle.
    One of the easiest and cheapest ways to is to "harden up" your own vehicle. Fill 20-litre plastic jerry cans with water and place them behind the rear passenger seat of the vehicle held in place by a strap or netting. Line the door panels and the floor beneath the mats with sand bags. Insert 1/4 inch steel plate down the back of the seats and in the rear door panel. Have the glass covered with a good quality anti-shatter film. Carry with you good quality ballistic blankets (those that can be removed or you can sit on and therefore use them to cover and evacuate if needed).
    Ballistic blankets that are glued to the floor are quite effective against anti-personnel mines but do have their limitations when you need to cover and run. Remember that the extra weight will affect the dynamics of the vehicle, so practise driving it first and get used to the different stopping distances and cornering ability.
    Understand Your Vehicle

    Toyota 4wd Booklet: This "how to" booklet, produced by Toyota contains basic information needed to operate a 4wd (specifically, part-time 4wd's). Here's the download ( PDF, 377kb, 35 pages. You will need Adobe Reader to open it).
    Understanding About Axle Wind-up: When you select a four-wheel drive you have to be aware that your vehicle does not suffer from extreme axle wind up as this can cause expensive damage ($3,000 and upwards!!). Learn more here.
    Tyres Are The Sole Of Your Vehicle! All tyre manufactures have lots of information regarding understanding your tyres. Take the time to learn it.
    Yokohama Tire Corporation have a good guide here.

    Using A Winch: It's all well and good having the fancy gadgets, but if you don't know how to use them, they are a beautiful white elephant! They can also be very dangerous if not used correctly. Regular checks should be made to ensure that they work.
    The Basic Guide to Winching Techniques: An excellent manual by Warn. Provides the reader with a basic understanding of an electric winch and teaches the basics of proper winching techniques. Read more here.

    Other links

    General Driving Information and Resources:
    4x4 Techniques:
    4wd Info:

    This page was compiled by Isobel McConnan and Mick Farmer with contributions by Mark Butler and Tony Walsh. The project was supported by the Fritz Institute.

    Fuel and Maintenance Facilities

    On this page:
    • Servicing and resourcing a vehicle fleet
    There must be adequate servicing facilities, including sufficient supplies of fuel and spare parts. Maintenance and repair must be carried out regularly and as per manufacturers' standards, either through local service dealers or through you own workshop. Regular maintenance will prevent minor problems turning into major ones. Proper driving and care by the drivers can be an important factor in keeping vehicles on the road and prolonging their life. Adequate training, incentives and supervision will be the key to this.
    Fuel and lubricants

    Assured supplies of fuel and lubricants must be available where they are needed (make sure oil and lubricants are in accordance with manufacturer's specifications - and new). This may require separate, secure storage arrangements and an additional fleet of fuel tanker vehicles. It may be necessary to establish fuel stations to ensure fuel supplies.
    Spare parts and workshops

    Consumable items (filters, shock absorbers, brake linings etc.) and spare parts must be available, especially tyres: tyre life may be no more than 10,000 km in rough desert or mountain conditions. Arrangements for maintenance and repair include:
    i. Making use of or strengthening existing facilities:
    Existing commercial, government, NGO or UN facilities (e.g. SCF, WFP or UNDPKO) may be able to service additional vehicles or could be strengthened in order to do so;

    ii Establishing dedicated workshops:
    Workshops may have to be established solely for the operation - for example a central, fully equipped workshop, including personnel, tools, soldering capacity, spare parts store, and transport administration office. In addition, depending on the size and area of the operation, consider also having smaller workshops and transport administration offices closer to isolated destinations;

    iii. Mobile workshops and heavy recovery vehicles may also be necessary:
    Always ensure there is recovery capacity for trucks, such as mobile workshops, recovery trucks, winches, etc.

    (adapted from the UNHCR Handbook for Emergencies, which you can download in five different languages the UNHCR E-Library here)

    Servicing, Maintenance and repair

    Regular and good quality vehicle maintenance helps project staff to carry out their work on time and within budget. Don't wait for your vehicles to break down!
    • Preventative Maintenance
    • Daily inspection
    • Defect reporting
    • Service schedules
    • Workshop / maintenance facilities
    • Arrangements with the workshop
    • Sending and collecting the vehicle
    • Spare parts and stores
    • Tool kit
    • Warranty protection
    Sample forms, agreements and checklists may be downloaded from the Logistics Resources Bank
    Preventative Maintenance

    Preventative maintenance saves money - and can save lives. Five good reasons for regular servicing and maintenance are:
    • To provide safe and reliable transport
    • To achieve full vehicle life
    • To protect warranty cover
    • To achieve optimum vehicle costs per km travelled
    • To gain a satisfactory second hand selling price
    Overall responsibility for maintenance falls to the person in charge of vehicles (e.g. the transport manager or logistician), while drivers have responsibility for regular checks and other specific tasks. Proper driving and care by drivers can be an important factor in keeping vehicles on the road and prolonging their life. Adequate training, incentives and supervision are key to this.
    Daily inspection

    Daily inspections keep maintenance costs to a minimum. Each driver (or a specially allocated mechanic) should carry out a daily check before starting their vehicle each morning to spot any potential repair or maintenance requirements. A daily checklist may be kept with the vehicle logbook and signed by the driver to confirm the checks have been done. Ideally have a daily check sheet which is given to the person responsible for vehicles, so that the contact is "institutionalised". More detailed checks should also be carried out weekly.
    Another example of a daily checklist (developed and contributed by Mark Snelson. Format: PDF, Size 156 kb. Please Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open this PDF file).
    Defect reporting

    Drivers should be encouraged to report all problems with their vehicles, no matter how small. This should be done with written defect reports. These may have 3 copies, one for the driver, one for the office and one for the workshop. Once the repair has been completed, the form should be completed and filed in the vehicle file.
    Service schedules

    The maintenance requirements for each vehicle are specified in the manufacturer's handbook. Transfer these into a vehicle data form to be kept in the vehicle's own file. Servicing is usually carried out after a given number of kilometres, or an agreed number of weeks, whichever comes first.
    Plan services ahead of time! At least a week - or more if the vehicle needs to be booked into a workshop.

    A preventative maintenance checklist
    sets out the checks that should be made in a given time period and after a set number of km. Following this is important to assist in any warranty or insurance claim.

    Monitoring kilometres travelled makes it easy to anticipate when the next service is due. Details for this come from a monthly summary of the vehicle logbook, kept in the vehicle file.
    Next-service reminders: Put an adhesive label with the 'next service due' in a corner of the windscreen.
    Put up a transport maintenance notice board where everyone can see it - to show when services for each vehicle are due.
    Workshop / maintenance facilities

    Should you use external facilities or set up your own?
    The main options are:
    • Large commercial workshop (including a main dealer or larger local repairer)
    • Smaller independent 'backstreet' workshop / repairer
    • Workshop provided by larger international agencies
    • Your own
    Your own workshop? If you have a small fleet (eg less than 5 vehicles) setting up your own facilities is unlikely to be cost-effective, but you may have to if there is no acceptable alternative. The advantage having your own workshop being able to hold regularly-used components and spares under a properly managed stock control system. Check thought to see if anyone have similar facilities close-by that you could use, rather than making your own. If you do go ahead, points to consider include:
    • Workshop location, site and services
    • Workshop design
    • Equipment and tools (including lifting equipment, ramps and/or pit)
    • Maintenance materials, consumables and spare parts stock and maintenance
    • Documentation and technical manuals
    • Staffing and management
    • Staff training
    • Health and safety equipment
    Engineering In Emergencies, pp483-491 includes detailed guidance on setting up a vehicle workshop. When selecting an external workshop you should find out:
    • How many mechanics are working there?
    • Is there a supervisor or foreman present?
    • What qualifications do the staff have and what type of work do they do?
    • How long has the workshop been in operation?
    • Does it have a spare parts store?
    • What type of stock is kept?
    • Does the workshop have the basic garage equipment: trolley jack, toolbox, air compressor, battery chargers, grease gun and service pit?
    • Does it have a power supply and reliable water supply?
    • Is there a secure parking area?
    • Is it well-located, eg beside a good road?
    • Which other organisations are using the workshop?
    • Who are the customers, and how satisfied are they with the workshop?
    Advantages and disadvantages of using a main dealer, larger workshop or smaller workshop:
    • If you have access to a main dealer, the advantages are manufacturer support, factory trained staff and up-to-date facilities. Some more complex components (eg electronics) can only be serviced by a main dealer. Plus, warranty work may have to be done here.
      • The downside is that you may well not have one near to hand. If you do, a main dealer can be costly, and you can't assume that the work will be satisfactory.
    • The advantages of using a larger local repairer are that their reputation is often good - but you need to check this - and they're more likely to have specialised equipment and experience on varied vehicles. Costs may be less than the main dealer, but permission may be needed from them to carry out warranty work. The service manager is likely to be more accessible.
      • On the other hand, there will be no manufacturer guarantees of responsibility. Check they have the main equipment and that they can get spares.
    • The smaller 'back street' repairers or workshops can often provide a better service. Vehicles can be serviced at a convenient time, and the costs may be less than larger workshops. Other advantages are: direct contact with the person doing the work, familiarity with older vehicles, ability to repair rather than replace major components, may have second hand parts.
      • As with all workshops, you'll need to check reputation and honesty. The downside of smaller workshops is the risk of poor conditions or poor workmanship. Also, they may require cash on collection.
    It makes sense to arrange to use workshops run by the larger agencies (eg IFRC, ICRC, UNHCR, MSF). Mobile workshops and heavy recovery vehicles may also be necessary. Always ensure there is recovery capacity for trucks, such as mobile workshops, recovery trucks, winches etc.
    Arrangements with the workshop

    Explain your requirements with the service manager or mechanic:
    • Type, number and age of vehicles
    • Likely number of service visits
    • Copies of job sheets for work done
    • List of spares used
    • Use of genuine spare parts and quality oils
    • Return of old parts for verification
    • Preparation of detailed invoices that list all spare parts, materials and labour for the service carried out
    • Credit period
    • Booking-in notice
    • Arrangements for getting spare parts
    Consider having a legally valid service and maintenance agreement between your agency and the workshop.
    Sending and collecting the vehicle

    When booking the service, tell the workshop what type of service, additional checks or repairs are required.
    Here's an example of a service schedule.
    Provide the workshop with a repair order specifying your requirements. Describe all faults clearly and make sure that good quality oil and parts will be used.
    The driver should remain with the vehicle at all times in order to:
    • Verify the work is done according to the repair order
    • Verify that no other parts are removed or replaced
    • Verify original spare parts are being used
    • Receive old or warn parts that have been replaced
    The driver should record the work done on a job card that shows all work required and actually carried out, details of labour, spare parts and materials used, and costs. These should then be filed in the relevant vehicle folder/file.
    Spare parts and stores

    You need a regular and reliable supply of genuine spare parts. Beware of counterfeit or inferior quality spares - using these can have serious detrimental effects on vehicles.
    Consumable items (filters, shock absorbers, brake linings etc) and spare parts must be available when you need them. Don't forget tyres, which can need replacing after only 10,000 km in rough desert or mountain conditions.
    Check what can be purchased locally and also on any import restrictions. Consider keeping your own stock of essential spare parts.
    Store spares securely, and protect them from the weather.
    Tool kit

    Each vehicle should have its own tool kit for essential repairs.
    Drivers should know how to use the kit in the toolbox.
    Warranty protection

    Making a claim against a warranty can mean substantial savings. Be aware of the warranty conditions, monitor your vehicles and make sure that records are kept up-to-date: gaps or faults in records could invalidate a claim.
    Find out where the nearest authorised dealer is. The name and address of the main dealer should be found in the literature supplied with their vehicles. The main dealer is usually based in a capital city and should be able to advise you.

    (This page was compiled by Isobel McConnan with contributions by Mark Butler and Pamela Malo. Original material was adapted with permission from the field manuals of UNHCR, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Tearfund, Transaid, Concern, MSF and Save the Children. The project was supported by the Fritz Institute)

    Fuel Management

    Fuel is a valuable commodity, so you need to be able to keep track of your stock, fuelling and fuel usage at all times. This section gives you some practical guidance on these points, along with tips on secure storage, safety, and keeping fuel clean.
    • Sources and Storage
    • Safety on Site
    • Monitoring the fuel stock
    • Monitoring fuel issue
    • Monitoring fuel usage
    • Keeping fuel clean
    • Refill!
    • Carrying extra fuel?
    • One driver, one vehicle
    Sample forms, agreements and checklists may be downloaded from the Logistics Resources Bank.
    Sources and storage

    You need to have confidence in your supplier, so use a local petrol station where possible - it goes without saying to check their reputation first. Avoid using dubious sources as there is a risk that fuel could have been blended with other liquids.
    Fuel can be purchased directly at the petrol station, or you can keep it on site in tanks or drums. There are upsides and downsides of each of these options:
    • Having an account with a petrol station
    • No need to have your own store
    • An agreed amount is available at any time
    • Arrangements can be made to limit who has access to the fuel
    • Fuel is usually clean
    • Works well when vehicles are in the locality
    • Fuel purchased from a petrol station can be done through the use of coupons.
    Alternatively, you can set up an agreement with your service station and pay for fuel on a fortnightly or monthly basis. Make sure you have the agreement in writing.
    Tanks can be regulated if a pump with a counter is used
    • They're filled at a prescribed time, which is useful for large fuellings
    • Good for a large programme
    • Helps keep fuel clean
    Not recommended for smaller programmes because large amounts of fuel are needed to make the use of tanks viable.
    Drums are convenient for easy transport and storage
    • Pumps are easily available
    • Fuel can be siphoned - though this could mean a risk of theft!
    The downside of these benefits is the a risk of theft. Also, there's more opportunity for dirt to get into the barrel.
    Safety on site

    If you store fuel on site, safety and security are paramount. Points that must be considered include:
    • Local health and safety procedures
    • Safety from fire and explosion
    • Staff training in safe working practices
    • Distance from houses or places of work
    • Adequate ventilation
    • Who has access and when
    • Security from misuse and theft
    • Absolute cleanliness and freedom from water contamination
    • No smoking or naked lights
    • Insurance of premises
    • Monitoring of procedures
    If fuel is stored in drums, remember the following:
    • Clearly separate different fuels and fluids and mark all drums to show contents, date of purchase and arrival. Use recognisable coloured symbols and use old drums first.
    • Don't stack drums more than two high.
    • Wear gloves.
    • Keep drums tightly sealed.
    • Clean and dry drums before opening to avoid contamination. Open hot drums slowly.
    • Pump through a filter and avoid pumping from the bottom of the drum.
    • Use a proper drum opener - this is much better than opening drums with a bit of steel bar and damaging the plug.
    In remote areas, fuel drums stored next to generators should be kept under cover. Make sure the generator hut has a lean-to area for the drums so as to avoid rainwater sitting in the sunken tops of the drums and entering the drum on opening.
    In tropical climates, store diesel in the shade. In a remote area, petrol can be stored in a drum underground, covered in soil to keep it cool.
    Don't be tempted to use plastic jerrycans that not designed for petrol use such as those bought on the local market. The petrol slowly breaks down the plastic, and using this contaminated petrol then gums up the carburettor and causes extensive damage.
    Monitoring the fuel stock

    If fuel is kept on site, keep track of fuel use with stock control forms - this is the responsibility of the person in charge of the store. If you're using drums, a practical way to check quantities is to use a dipping rod or graduated stick.
    Monitoring fuel issue

    Keep track of fuelling by recording daily fuel issue on a standardised form. For fuelling from a depot, the form would show:
    1. The date, the name of the depot, and the name of the person in charge.
    2. The fuel tank dip reading at the beginning and the end of each day, and amount of fuel used.
    The same for oil.
    Record of fuel issued: vehicle license plate, Km reading, fuel issued (litres), oil issued (litres) and the driver's name and signature.
    A control sheet for bulk fuel allows the control and issue of fuel from both a bulk fuel tank held on the site of a project or programme, or fuel issued by voucher for later collection at a designated garage. It also allows you to control different sorts of fuel - using a form for each type. The forms last a month and at the end of each sheet you start a new one and carry forward the balance to the new form.
    This sheet gives:
    • The date, vehicle registration number and driver's name
    • The amount of fuel delivered (litres)
    • The amount of fuel drawn out
    • The remaining balance
    • Voucher numbers
    • Signatures
    The same principles apply for monitoring issue of both different kinds of fuels and lubricants.
    Monitoring fuel usage

    Fuel use could be more or less than expected. A high level of use might indicate mechanical inefficiency or even theft. Low usage might suggest that vehicles haven't been suitably allocated or are being under-used. Most agencies should have standard forms to monitor fuel use, but here are some examples:
    Keep a fuel consumption log for each individual vehicle. This should record:
    • Vehicle and driver details
    • Start mileage
    • Litres of fuel added and other fuels added
    • Daily checks
    • Journey to / from
    • End mileage
    • Driver initials
    • Comments
    You can also use a form that enables you to calculate weekly fuel consumption. The key information to record is:
    • Vehicle and driver details
    • Report period (start and end date)
    • Opening kilometres
    • Closing kilometres
    • Kilometres travelled
    • Fuel used (litres)
    • Fuel consumption (kms/litres)
    It is then possible to calculate
    1. The average daily fuel consumption during the reporting period, and
    2. The anticipated total fuel requirement for the next week
    Keeping fuel clean

    Dirt in water or fuel leads to mechanical problems. Fuel containers should be clean - swill out with clean fuel before re-filling. Use mesh filters when extracting fuel from drums. Fit extra fuel filters to vehicles and check them regularly to remove dirt or water.
    Watch out for oxidation, which results in gums and sediments.
    Minimise microbiological contamination by keeping filters clean. If piston rings are sticking or there's high oil consumption, this might mean that there's a build up of waxes and resins.
    Black exhaust - it might mean sulphuric acid in the system. One solution could be to use one of the highly sophisticated additives for diesel fuel that are now on the market to clean your fuel system.
    Loss of diesel engine power in winter - it could be the cold that's the problem, not the filter. Depending on the problem, you can protect your equipment by the use of fuel additives, fuel heaters or fuel water separators.
    Prevention is better than cure! Key things to remember are the timely replacement and servicing of filters selection of the fuel source, grade, and blend and use of heaters, separators, and additives as required.
    Follow these links for more detailed advice on fuel filter problems in winter, diesel fuel contamination and fuel filter plugging, and fuel problems.

    In remote areas, always refuel the vehicle when it reaches half full. In emergency situations (UN Security Phases 3 and over), top up when the tank falls to three quarters full.
    Carrying extra fuel?

    Carrying extra fuel during travels comes with a safety and security warning. In some countries, it is an offence to transport fuel across provincial and state borders, so make sure you find out the local rules. This is particularly important when there is hyper-inflation, civil war, or in countries where distribution of oil revenues is being contested.
    One driver, one vehicle

    Allocating one driver to one vehicle means that the driver takes personal responsibility for properly driving and maintaining the vehicle.
    Brief each driver on their responsibilities. These include ensuring that the vehicle isn't driven by anyone else without prior agreement, agreeing all journeys beforehand, and completing the necessary fuel use and other forms.

    (This page was compiled by Isobel McConnan with contributions by Matthew Bader, Mark Butler, Simon Done, Mick Farmer, Pamela Malo, Mohale Moshoeshoe, John Rickard, Dieudonne Vaviraki and Bryan Walker. Original material was adapted with permission from the field manuals of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Tearfund, Transaid, Concern, MSF and Save the Children. The project was supported by the Fritz Institute.)
  2. Serendipity

    Serendipity JF-Expert Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Joined: Jan 24, 2009
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    Hii situation ni applicable zaidi kwenye nchi zilizoendelea na sio bongo!