Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) achieved higher than forecast automotive and container handling volumes at the Port Elizabeth port in December, which it attributes to greater demand from local and international markets, along with automotive investments made in the region, TPT Eastern Cape GM Siya Mhlaluka said in a statement on Tuesday.
Automotive volumes of 5 133 units were forecast, and 10 574 units were handled. Similarly, the Port Elizabeth container terminal handled 13 906 units, about 43% higher than the 9 735 that had been expected for the month.
Acknowledging the importance of relationships with key stakeholders in the region, Mhlaluka highlighted a trial project with automotive multinational Ford in late 2017, which involved transporting 42 Ford Ranger bakkies by rail from Kaalfontein, in Gauteng, to Port Elizabeth.
“Collaborating with Ford as a client to successfully transport these vehicles demonstrates the need for us to work with key stakeholders and other Transnet operating divisions to achieve increased volumes and quicker turnaround times,” he said.
“This was the first trial project the Port of Port Elizabeth did with Ford and there are more projects in the pipeline. We want to diversify our service offering and improve our standard of service to customers,” added Mhlaluka.
The project reflects the benefits of Transnet’s Value Chain Corridor, which involves TPT working closely with Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Transnet Freight Rail and Transnet Engineering to ensure operations ran smoothly in this joint initiative.
“Ford’s interest in using the Port of Port Elizabeth to expand its export capacity bodes well for the Nelson Mandela Bay region and the province. We are delighted as this is aligned with our vision of positioning the port as the premier automotive transshipment hub for sub-Saharan Africa,” said TNPA Port Elizabeth port manager Rajesh Dana.