State-owned freight utility Transnet says a R10-million refurbishment on a second railway line into the Port of Port Elizabeth’s (PE’s) container terminal is unlocking substantial business potential for the Eastern Cape.
“One of the celebrated successes of the port in the past financial year was the successful export of Ford units through the automotive terminal.
"This had opened greater opportunities for both the original-equipment manufacturer and the port to collaborate on logistics solutions for the import and export of all components and units,” states Transnet National Ports Authority in a release.
In addition, this presented the port with an opportunity to grow its strategic positioning as an automotive hub, notes Port of PE new business development manager Sujit Bhagattjee.
As a consequence of Covid-19 impacts, Ford had to revalidate its forecasted units that were planned to be exported through the Port of PE. Revisions to this forecast projected a significant increase to the volumes expected to be exported though the port over the next few years.
The type of cargo and destinations include engine components to Turkey, Russia, Thailand, Argentina and North America. It also covers catalytic converters to 25 Ford consumer plants and two aftermarket divisions internationally as well as indirect exports of Ford Rangers and Ford Everests to more than 100 markets globally.
Port of PE port engineer Theo Sethosa says the refurbishment works are planned to be completed by the end of November, bearing in mind any unforeseen circumstances such as the availability of the berth, construction contingencies and any adverse weather conditions.
The repairs will cover a railway track of about 340 m from bollard number one, to the stop block in the container terminal. This specific track has been dormant over the past few years owing to a lack of demand.
“This investment demonstrates that the Port of PE is open for business. It is not only proof that we are facilitating trade and unlocking economic growth, but also contributing to reducing the cost of doing business. We are developing a globally competitive port, transport and logistics system,” Bhagattjee points out.
Since the inception of using the empty rail wagon leg from Gauteng to PE in April 2019, this step greatly addressed the capacity challenges in the Port of Durban’s Roll-on Roll-off Terminal, resulting in greater efficiencies and reduced delivery times with nearly 7 000 Ford Rangers shipped from PE to Europe.
This is testament to the operation of a complementary port system.