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Start-up Industry Specific

How Can I Start A Petrol And Diesel Transportation Business In South Africa?

The regulations of transporting petrol throughout South Africa.





The fuel industry in South Africa is a “closed” industry and it’s advisable to have contacts, or have worked in the industry, either for a fuel supplier or transport company before starting out on your own.

Transporting fuel isn’t as simple as it seems

Tanker transportation of petrol and diesel is a job which requires the application of specialised skills, so it’s important to have good knowledge regarding the operation of equipment and the regulations that apply.

“Many fuel companies, such as Sasol and Chevron have their own fleet of tankers which they use to transport fuel while others outsource,” explains Anton Moldon, Environmental advisor, South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA).

“The entire process is very strictly controlled, even driver training is generally undertaken by the fuel companies,” says Moldon.


The regulations are long, complex and apply to not just to the driver and the vehicle but also to safety.


Drivers of vehicles transporting dangerous goods such as diesel and petrol require a category D professional driving permit. The minimum age for new drivers transporting dangerous goods is 25 years to ensure that only experienced drivers are transporting this flammable product.

Related: Steps for Registering Your Transport Business

Drivers of dangerous goods vehicles above 3 500 kg GVM are required to undergo training by a body approved by the National Department of Transport in order to obtain the certificate needed to qualify for a “D” category.

General duties

  • The driver has to be familiar with the route to be taken
  • The driver must carefully check the condition of the vehicle
  • All necessary documents must be kept in the vehicle.
  • Warning signs and warning devices to be displayed or stored in the vehicle,
  • Be sure that the vehicle has the correct type and number of fire extinguishers fitted to the vehicle
  • The vehicle must contain protective clothing

Learn the rules

The best way to understand the regulations that apply to the vehicle and to safety issues is to contact the SABS and buy the “Dangerous Goods Digest, The Orange Book of Southern Africa”.

Related: Government Funding Options for Transport Businesses

This loose-leaf system is all you’ll need to fully understand and comply with the Dangerous Goods Regulations and the various relevant SANS (SABS) Standards which you have to comply with in order to transport fuel. This can be ordered online.


All the Standard specifications and codes of practice:

  • SABS 1398 “Road tank vehicles for petroleum-based flammable liquids”
  • SABS 1518 “Transportation of dangerous goods – design requirements for road tankers”
  • SABS 0228 “The identification and classification of dangerous substances and goods”
  • SABS 0229 “Packaging of dangerous goods for road and rail transportation in South Africa”
  • SABS 0230 “Transportation of dangerous goods – Inspection requirements for road vehicles”
  • SABS 0231 “Transportation of dangerous goods – Operational requirements for road vehicles”
  • SABS 0232-1 “Transportation of dangerous goods – Emergency information systems”, Part 1: “Emergency information system for road transportation”
  • SABS 0232-3 “Transportation of dangerous goods – Emergency information systems”, Part 3: “Emergency action codes”
  • SABS 0233 “Intermediate bulk containers for dangerous substances, all apply and are contained in the Dangerous Goods Digest.

Related: Business Plan Examples To Get You Going

What is more profitable to transport, petrol or diesel?

According to Marco Swanepoel of MS-SM Transport & Petroleum, it is more profitable to transport diesel as most of the petrol contracts are taken up. Petrol contracts are signed for a period of 12 – 60 months.

“In this industry “one hand washes the other” and anyone considering starting a business transporting petroleum products should come into the business with experience of working in it in order to have established contacts.

It is a very hard business to get established in. The lack of stability in the petrol and diesel price doesn’t make things any easier,” Swanepoel explains.

The national petroleum production system in South Africa

The intake stations for imported crude oil and diesel arrives at the two Durban refineries – the crude refinery at Coalbrook (Natref) and the Sasol 2 and Sasol 3 Plants at Secunda.

Related: How to Take Our the Right Insurance


Transnet Pipelines’ network transports 100% of South Africa’s bulk petroleum products and handles an annual average throughput of 16 billion litres of liquid fuel. The liquid products include crude oil as well as diesel, leaded and unleaded petrol and aviation turbine fuels.

The liquid fuels network runs through the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, North West and Mpumalanga.

Transnet Pipelines’ customers are all South Africa’s major fuel companies namely; BP, Caltex, Engen, Exel, Sasol Oil, Sasol Gas, Tepco, Shell and Total.

The government fixes the petrol price by zones to recognise the differences in costs associated with the transportation of petrol between various geographic areas, the country is divided into 50-plus pricing zones.

The transport sector is responsible for 74% of South Africa’s petroleum consumption and approximately 60% of imported crude oil is used for national petroleum production.

Related: How Does One Start a Petrol Station in South Africa?

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. thabo monyane

    Oct 23, 2014 at 16:03

    As a starter, how do I go about starting transportation of used petroleum in South Africa ( Rustenburg area)
    Hope to hear from you


    Thabo Monyane

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Start-up Industry Specific

How Do I Start A Transport Or Logistics Business?

An all in one guide to starting a transport and logistics business.




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Thinking about starting a transport business?

Forecasts indicate that the demand for freight transport will grow in South Africa by between 200% and 250% over the 15 to 20 years.

Some corridors, (high volume transport routes that connect major centres), such as the corridors between Gauteng and Cape Town (which amount to 50% of all corridor transport) will increase even faster.

The scope in the transport and logistics industry is varied – from a one-man show using a small truck to transport goods and offer services, to a fleet of transport vehicles which travel the length and breadth of South Africa’s roads.

Road transportation includes commuter transport from taxis to bus transportation.

It can be a tough industry and there are many threats facing transport businesses but if you get it right, you can build a successful business.

What is covered in this guide:

  1. How to start your transport and logistics business
  2. How to get funding for your transport business
  3. What are the costs involved
  4. Finding customers and getting transport contracts
  5. Getting onto suppliers lists
  6. Buying trucks and employing drivers
  7. What are the regulations and risks
  8. Where to find guidance to start your business.

Ready to get going? Click the arrow button to learn how to start your own transport business.

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Start-up Industry Specific

How To Start A Farming Business

Keep these nine points in mind when launching your new farming business.




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Start-up Industry Specific

How Do I Start A Security Company In South Africa?

There are two kinds of security companies, one that sells products and one that sells services or you can combine both.





To start a security service company in South Africa you must register with the Private Security Regulatory Authority (SIRA). There are two kinds of security companies, one that sells products and one that sells services or you can combine both. It is estimated that the private security industry in South Africa employs over 400 000 individuals.

If you’re looking at starting a security guard company in South Africa, the following guide will be able to assist you in the deciding if it’s the right decision for you.

You need a lot of capital

Starting a security business requires a good deal of capital outlay and it’s highly recommended that one should have a background in this field.

Decide what kind of company you want to start

There are two kinds of security companies, one that sells products and one that sells services or you can combine both. Each sector falls under its own regulatory body.

What about area competition?

Greg Margolis is the CEO of NYPD Security, a niche security company that has operated for the last five years in the leafy northern suburbs of Johannesburg.

“To run your own security service company I think that you have to be well rounded in terms of not just being a good business person, but you also have to be a people person, a marketing person and know a good deal about the business.

“There’s tough competition, but I love what I do and wouldn’t sell my business even if I was offered triple what its worth. I am passionate about what I do”, says Margolis.

Starting a Security Services Business

To start a security service company in South Africa you must register with the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSIRA). This includes paying a registration fee of R2 280 and writing an exam. Once you have passed the exam, proved that you do not have a criminal record, SIRA will conduct an inspection to establish whether or not your business meets the infrastructure requirements. A further fee of R1 710 is charged for the assessment. Each year the business is re-accessed which costs a further R500 plus the annual renewal fee or R520.

The following documentation is required for registration:

  1. An authenticated copy of the CM1, CM2, CM27, CM29, CM31 and CM 46 (apply at Registrar of Companies or Attorneys), if the applicant is a company;
  2. An authenticated copy of the Partnership Agreement if the applicant is a partnership;
  3. An authenticated copy of the trust deed and the letter of authorisation to the trustees from the Master of the High Court if the applicant is a business trust

Related:Steps for Setting the Right Prices for Your Security Business

Also required:

  1. The Suretyship form (SIRA 4) to be signed by the natural person who has taken full responsibility of the security business
  2. Every director, member, partner (as the case may be) applying for registration as a security business must have successfully completed, at a training establishment accredited in terms of law, at least, the training courses Grade E to B
  3. An authenticated copy of the Tax Clearance Certificate from the South African Revenue Service (SARS)
  4. An authenticated copy of the VAT Registration Number from SARS.
  5. An authenticated copy of the PAYE number from SARS
  6. An authenticated copy of the COID number (Compensation for Occupational Injuries & Diseases) from the Department of Labour
  7. Sufficient information in writing to enable the Authority to ascertain that the applicant security business meets the requirements with regard to the infrastructure and capacity necessary to render a security service;

This include, inter alia, the following:

  1. Submit a business plan to the Authority including the location and activities
  2. A resolution by the applicant security business stating that it will be able to operate for the next year
  3. The applicant proves that it has an administrative office that is accessible to the inspectors of the SIRA
  4. The applicant must have equipment which is necessary for the management and administration of the security business, e.g. fixed telephone, fax machine, a hard copy or electronic filing system for the orderly keeping of all records and documentation
  5. Show that the affairs of the applicant security business are managed and controlled by appropriately experienced, trained and skilled persons
  6. The applicant security business has at its disposal a sufficient number of registered and appropriately trained and skilled security officers for the rendering of a security service for which it has contracted or is likely to contract
  7. The security officers must be properly controlled and supervised
  8. The applicant security officer has at its disposal sufficient and adequately skilled administrative staff members for the administration of the affairs of the applicant
  9. The business must have has all the necessary equipment, including vehicles,  uniforms, clothing and equipment that must be issued to its security officers
  10. The applicant security business is in lawful possession of the firearms and other weapons that are necessary offer security services in respect of which it has contracted.

Related: Get going with a One Page Business Plan

Landing contracts


The most important thing you can do to start and operate your own business is to develop a good business plan.

It’s invaluable because the business plan forces you to come to terms with your business. Selling the business concept seems to the problem, said Margolis. These are his five tips that will help to get the business going.

“The security industry in South Africa is very competitive. You have to get out there and you have to keep knocking on doors, there isn’t an easy solution”, explains Margolis.

Top Tips

1. Look at your business plan and decide if you have a competitive advantage. If not, work out how you can make the market understand the unique value your small business has to offer.

2. It is important to make yourself known. It isn’t difficult or expensive to increase awareness about the business. Attend ratepayer meetings, spend time at the local police stations, and attend meetings the police have with residents and businesses in the area. This way people get to know you and respect you and half the battle is won. Networking is the way to go.

3. It’s my experience that bigger companies are reluctant to give security contracts to a company that is a one-man show. Make sure that you have a structure in place. Clients need to know if something happens to you, the business will not fall apart, and the services they have paid for and you have agreed to supply, will not cease. Clients need to understand that besides experience, that you are credible and that all the checks and balances are in place. This must be one of the key selling points.

4. Consider taking on a partner. Choose a partner who has the attributes that you lack. The ideal partner would be one with strong links and contacts in the community that you want to work with. Let your partner control the selling side while you handle areas you’re strong in, such as expertise and service delivery. The other option is to employ sales staff.

5. Stay abreast of new trends in the field, and update your skills. This is something that I strongly believe in. You have to be well rounded in terms of not just being a good businessperson, but you also have to be a people person, a marketing and sales manager and know a good deal about the neighbourhoods you work.


Are you new to starting a business? Read 15 Things Every Newbie Needs to Know About Starting a Business

Security products

What are the requirements to start a security product supplier business?

If you are starting a security company that sells electronic alarm systems and other security products it’s wise to become a member of SAIDSA in order to provide your business with the credibility it needs to be taken seriously by the public and security service providers.

The objective of SAIDSA is to upgrade the quality and standards of electronic security and to protect the public from unscrupulous, “fly-by-night” operators. When a security system is purchased, an ongoing relationship is entered into between the purchaser and the security service company concerned.

The security service product supplier must have the infrastructure and the required expertise to support the relationship continuously.

Security Sector Regulatory Bodies

The security industry has established a number of bodies to regulate itself. Membership in these bodies is voluntary. They include:

Ready to get going? Here’s 10 Steps to Start Your Business For Free (Almost)

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