A Ugandan transport and logistics operator has been presented with a Global Fleet Champions Award for Sustainable Journeys in recognition of its outstanding commitment to reducing road risk and fuel emissions.
The award was presented to Markh Investments by Hope for Victim of Traffic Accidents (HOVITA) during an evening reception and award dinner held at the Serena Hotel in Kampala, Uganda, on Friday 31 January 2020.
Global Fleet Champions Awards celebrate the best safety and sustainability standards of fleets anywhere in the world, including in low- and middle-income nations where occupational road risk management is in urgent need of promoting and encouraging. The Sustainable Journeys Award, sponsored by Verizon Connect, recognises organisations that have done the most to reduce risk and fuel emissions by enabling active and shared travel (cycling, walking and public transport use), or by improving journey routing to reduce distance travelled by motorised vehicles, and reduce motorised vehicles posing the highest risks to people walking and cycling (for example, avoiding routes around schools).
The Sustainable Journeys Award was judged by members of the Global Fleet Champions standards committee. The judges commended Markh Investments for its strong commitment to road safety through route hazard training and journey plans, and to sustainability through investment in modern vehicles. They also praised the organisation for the successful adoption of journey management principles in what is often a difficult operating environment, making it an exemplary role model for other operators working in Uganda and across sub-Saharan Africa.
More than 1.35 million people are killed every year in road crashes across the world and many more are seriously injured. Road crash injuries are the leading killer of young people aged 5-29, according to the latest Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018 published by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The risk of dying in a road crash remains much higher for low- and middle-income countries than high-income countries. In Uganda, the rate of road traffic deaths far exceeds the global rate and is higher than the average for Africa. In 2016, Uganda’s road traffic fatality rate stood at 29 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with a global rate of 18.2 deaths per 100,000 people, and the African average of 26.6 deaths per 100,000 people.
Uganda Police report that 3,689 Ugandans died in crashes on the country’s roads in 2018, and a further 9,539 received serious, life-changing injuries. The actual figures are likely to be even higher. In 2018, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa reported that roads in Uganda are the most dangerous in East Africa.
Leading road safety practitioners in Uganda have repeatedly raised concerns about the country’s poor road safety record, citing poor road infrastructure, importation of poor quality vehicles and dangerous driving manoeuvres as key problem areas. They are calling for road safety to be recognised as a national problem that requires dedicated financial investment and human resources to address the social and economic costs to the country.
At the awards ceremony, Hope for Victims of Traffic Accident (HOVITA) unveiled its manifesto for safer transport in Uganda, calling on the Government of Uganda to end deaths and serious injuries caused by road crashes. HOVITA is calling for a national year-round campaign to raise awareness of key road safety issues; an action plan to reduce the risk of driver fatigue; and high safety standards for the maintenance and condition of all vehicles.
The winner of the 2019 Global Fleet Champions Award for Sustainable Journeys is:
Markh Investments is a transport and logistics operator based in Kampala, Uganda. Since it was founded in 2004, the company has achieved steady growth and currently supports a fleet of 105 trucks, and a workforce that includes 120 drivers.Undaunted by statistics that place Uganda as a country with one of the highest road death rates in the world, the company has introduced new policies and procedures to support its mission to become one of the safest and greenest fleets in Africa. In 2017, Markh Investments began a transformative drive towards safety and sustainability, which included the introduction of a new journey management system to improve journey routing, minimise road risk and encourage sustainable driving behaviours. Through rigorous driver monitoring and training, investment in modern workshop facilities to keep vehicles in good running condition, and a personal commitment to road safety from managing director and CEO Maria Namusoke, the company has seen a significant reduction in road crashes and fuel use, and is firmly focused on its quest to become a benchmark in road safety for Uganda and the rest of Africa.
Maria Namusoke, Managing Director and CEO of Markh Investments, said: “We are honoured to receive the Global Fleet Champions Award for Sustainable Journeys, which recognises our stringent efforts to improve the safety and sustainability of all of our journeys. This award underlines our unequivocal commitment to reducing road crashes and pollution from vehicle emissions in Uganda, and strengthens our resolve to continue our quest to become one of the safest, greenest fleets in Africa.”
Sam Bambanza, Executive director of Hope for Victims of Traffic Accidents (HOVITA), said: “The situation on our roads in Uganda can no longer be ignored. We need a sustained, committed approach to address the substantial social and economic burden of road crashes in our country – this starts with government recognition that we have a national problem that requires financial investment and human resources. We are delighted to partner with the Global Fleet Champions campaign to stop road deaths and injuries and end pollution caused by work vehicles.”
Mary Williams OBE, chief executive of Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Road crashes are devastating events that rip families apart, and leave communities reeling in shock and victims feeling alone and without hope. Road deaths caused by work vehicles are a global catastrophe. The good news is that these deaths can be prevented through government action, through good policy that controls the management of organisations operating work vehicles on our roads. These deaths can also be stopped by organisations that transport goods and people taking responsibility for safety and saying that they will put safety first. We are delighted to work with HOVITA through the Global Fleet Champions programme to reward Markh Investments for putting safety and sustainability first.”