Port railway investment opens doors for economic growth

09 September 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202020446

Automotive
Government & Municipal
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Port railway investment opens doors for economic growth

THE R10 million refurbishment of a second railway line into the Port Elizabeth Container Terminal is unlocking substantial business potential for the Eastern Cape and opening doors for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Ford Motor Company currently exploring logistical solutions for the export of thousands of units.

That’s according to Sujit Bhagattjee, the port’s New Business Development Manager, who said one of its successes in the past financial year had been 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.”

He said the impact of COVID-19 had required Ford to revalidate its forecasted units which were planned to be exported through the Port of PE. “The revisions to this forecast project 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.

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,” Sethosa said.

Bhagattjee said the investment demonstrated that the Port of PE was 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.”

He said use of the empty rail wagon leg from Gauteng to PE from April 2019 had helped address “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.”

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