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Port railway investment opens doors for economic growth

Port railway investment opens doors for economic growth

The R10 million refurbishment to a second railway line into the Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) Port of PE Container Terminal is unlocking substantial business potential for the Eastern Cape. This is opening doors for OEMs such as Ford Motor Company, currently exploring logistical solutions for the export of thousands of units.

“One of the celebrated successes of the Port of PE in the past financial year was the successful export of Ford units through the Automotive Terminal. This opened greater opportunities for both the OEM and the port to collaborate on logistics solutions for the import and export of all components and units. In addition, this presented the port with an opportunity to grow its strategic positioning as an automotive hub,” said Sujit Bhagattjee, the port’s New Business Development Manager.

The impact of COVID-19 has required of Ford to revalidate its forecasted units which were planned to be exported through the Port of PE. Revisions to this forecast project a significant increase to the volumes expected to be exported though the port over the next few years.

Markets around the globe

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.

Increased demand

Theo Sethosa, Port Engineer at the Port of PE said, “The refurbishment works are planned to be completed by the end of November this year, 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 340m from bollard no.1, to the stop block in the Container Terminal. This specific track has been dormant over the past few years due to a lack of demand.”

Facilitating trade

“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,” added Bhagattjee.

Proven success

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 ability is testament to the operation of a complementary port system.