It is common for humanitarian agencies manage a fleet of vehicles (cars, vans or motorbikes) to transport people. Agencies specialised in humanitarian logistics may also have to manage a fleet of trucks to regularly transport goods, water or construction materials. This chapter mainly focuses in on the management of light vehicle fleets used for the transport of people. For complementary considerations and technical information related to cargo transport, such as cargo configuration, route planning and scheduling or documentation for goods transport, please refer to the road transport chapter.
- Define the time-frame of the rental and the time unit used for the rate - hour, day, week, month. If the rental exceeds a single day, it is recommended to agree on a daily rate and charge based on days word. If a monthly rate is used, clarify if calendar month, a period of four weeks or 30 days is covered in the contract.
- Clarify who provides the driver - the humanitarian agency or the owner. If the owner provides the driver, clarify that the driers cost is included in the rental. In addition, the hours the driver can work must be agreed together with the rate for additional worked hours. If required, the owner should provide a second driver. It is advised that the owner provided drivers come with per diem/accommodation.
- Define the party responsible of providing fuel:
- If the agency provides fuel, make sure that the tank is full prior to its first use.
- If the owner/rental company who provides fuel, ensure that the quantity in the tank is enough to achieve the programmed daily movements, avoiding losing valuable time going to the fuel station.
- Identify the site where the vehicle will be parked at night - the the agency’s compound or the owners. Where fuel is provided by the agency, the vehicle should be parked in the its a compound.
- Ensure that there are no restrictions as to where the vehicle can go in any given country. This is especially important on particularly bad roads or in conflict areas.
- Ensure the owner provides insurance and proof of insurance cover. Are passengers already insured or is additional cover required? A comprehensive insurance coverage preferred. The agency should avoid any liability related to car crashes with rental vehicles. Failure to clarify this can lead to dispute and legal demands between vehicle owners and humanitarian agencies.
- Define who is responsible for breakdowns and regular maintenance. It is strongly recommended that responsibility for recovery and repairs falls under the vehicles owner’s responsibility: avoid the responsibility for maintenance or repairs on vehicles which are not owned, as the initial condition of the vehicle can lead to frequent breakdowns, abusive practices and enormous levels of investment. If possible, agree on getting the owner to provide a replacement vehicle at no extra charge in the event of a breakdown or maintenance, without causing undue delay to programmed activities.
- Conduct a complete inventory of tools/utensils, keep a record of these items, and ensure the vehicle carries at least the minimum required tools in case of flat tire or minor repair.