A lack of parking for truck drivers who drive long distance has encouraged local businessman Ahmed Moola and his son to open a filling station and truck stop in Pietermaritzburg.
The new Total filling station is on the corner of Sats Road and Shortts Retreat Road in Mkondeni, Pietermaritzburg and was officially opened last week.
Although it doubles up as a truck stop, the station offers routine service for all vehicles.
Moola said the opening of the business was motivated by an ongoing lack of parking and safe rest area for truck drivers in Pietermaritzburg.
He said he had read an article about residents’ frustrations and complaints about drivers who park trucks on the road while they go to get food, causing traffic congestion.
He established that the areas most affected by this problem were Hayfields, New England, Willowton Road and Ohrtmann Road.
“I realised that this is an opportunity for us to do something. It gave us an idea to open this filling station and a truck stop and at the same time it would also help the affected residents,” he said.
He said it took two years of planning and analysing before they could start doing anything. Moola said although he is excited about their first investment business journey, he is worried about opening during the difficult time of Covid-19 when many other businesses are shutting down. However, there was no turning back once committed.
‘We started building this filling station in November last year and by March when the lockdown was announced. 50% of the work was already done. We were at the point of no return. We pray to God that we will get people coming to us and that the country will get back to normal.’
It will be challenging but we hope things will go well.
“I believe that for any business if you want it to survive and be sustainable you need to make an effort to draw the customers your side,” he said.
Moola said apart from a business opportunity for him, he hoped it would assist the community.
He said it has always been his dream to be in business and encourage others that it is a good idea to start something of your own if you can.
The truck stop has an overnight parking area for truck drivers with access to clean showers and toilets at a fee, but the drivers are not obliged to fill up with fuel at the garage. They can park and rest and other necessities will be available at a shop on site. – The Witness