High growth for South Africa’s road marking coatings has also been fueled by the increasing number of projects by South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (Sanral), a South African parastatal responsible for the management, maintenance and development of country’s proclaimed National Road network which includes many National and some Provincial roads.
During the 2017/18 period, Sanral undertook a total of 233 road projects involving building of new roads, improving of existing ones and rehabilitation of both toll and non-toll roads, which is expected to have raised the road marking coating consumption although in South Africa, like many other African markets, there is inadequate reliable data on the length of road marking being maintained by the roads agency.
Elsewhere, South Africa is considered one of the countries with the poorest road safety records according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The UN health agency estimates the country’s safety rate at 31.9 fatalities per 100,000 people compared to Africa’s average of 24.1 fatalities per 100,000 people and global average of 18 fatalities per a 100,000.
Effective and sustained use of quality road marking coatings is one of the strategies South Africa’s public and private sector are employing in an effort to improve the country’s road safety record. An estimated one million road accidents are recorded in South Africa annually with about 40 people getting fatally injured daily and another 20 becoming permanently disabled.
South Africa’s Department of Transport estimates the country’s annual road accident costs at $11.6 billion, an equivalent of 3.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). This is nearly 1.4 percent higher than the international benchmark.
“Road markings is one of the most important factors in maintaining high level of safety for road users,” said Goodwill Mbatha of Johannesburg Roads Agency in a previous statement.
“Center lines and edge lines improve road safety by reducing single vehicle accidents and head-on collisions,” he said.
Mbatha reiterated road markings “mostly supply information without diverting the driver’s attention.”
“Road markings are necessary to guide the road user and this guidance becomes more important during night driving and driving in unfavourable conditions such as heavy rains and fog,” he added.
In Johannesburg, an estimated 2,431 km of roads have been painted between July 2017 and December 2018 out of the target 11,043 km. The targeted road network for painting would cost $3.5 million.
Earlier in 2018, Sanral was allocated $3.1 billion to maintain and improve the national non-toll and coal-haulage road network in addition to $262 million for upgrading Moloto Road and$99 million for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.
Furthermore, the South African National Treasury allocated $2.3 billion during the 2017/18 as provincial roads maintenance grant for rehabilitation road infrastructure including associated road markings such as transverse markings, longitudinal markings, arrows, painted islands, symbols, words, letters and/or numerals, parking markings and road studs.
Several companies are involved in the manufacture and supply road marking coatings in the market that is increasingly becoming aware of the need for products that are temperature-sensitive, long-lasting and reflective to meet the needs for South Africa’s increasing traffic congestion, and already high level road accidents.
Kansai Plascon South Africa is one of the companies meeting the needs of the national road marking coatings market catering for both national and provincial roads.
Some of the Plascon road marking solutions include Hysheen, brick and concrete, thermoplastic, aqualine water-based and cold cure screed road markings. Other road marking paint products in South Africa come from leading global coating companies such as Ennis Flint and Hempel.
Johannesburg, among other South Africa cities keen on meeting the road safety and smooth road traffic flow through efficient use of road markings, is insisting on the use of paints that “include crystal glass beads with the strong capacity for absorbing, storing and emitting light.”
The Johannesburg Roads Agency has provided other guidelines on the quality of road markings that include the ability by the paints “to glow for more than twelve hours in the dark thereby increasing safety for road users.”
For the preservation of the environment, JRA requires that all road marking paints “be non-toxic with no radioactive additives.”
According to JRA “Paints must be quick drying and suitable for direct application to all types of new or previously painted bituminous and concrete road surfaces and can be applied by brush, roller or road striping machine.” The paints must have good good retro reflectivity due to excellent glass bead retention.
South Africa regulatory agencies have previously promulgated guidelines on how to improve road safety and improve traffic flow on the country’s roads especially by using road marking paints that have been certified by the South Africa Bureau of Standards (SABS). The road marking coatings are governed by the SABS Standard 731 Part 1 which also contains the traffic wear requirements “that estimates the extent to which the road marking has been worn away” according to AFRICON Engineering International.
With South Africa’s public investment in development of safer and bigger roads gaining momentum, the anticipation is that of having increased road construction new road projects and maintenance of existing ones, which will fuel growth of the country’s road marking coatings in the medium and long-term.