Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) recently reported that in the Eastern Cape region, their December 2017 volumes for both automotive and containers far exceeded their forecasts. According to Siya Mhlaluka, TPT’s GM: Eastern Cape, the automotive sector recorded almost 100% more volumes handled than originally anticipated with 10 574 handled versus the budget of 5 133 Units which is 100% above plan for the month. He confirmed that PE container terminal volumes of 13 906 units versus the predicted 9 735 units were 43% above plan for December.
“These are fantastic numbers and serve as a positive way to end off 2017 and start the New Year. We have attributed these inflated volumes across the two sectors to the demand from local and international markets, along with automotive investments made in the region. We are very proud of how our highly skilled and dedicated staff handled these major volumes over the December period and these volumes are encouraging signs that we might be seeing a positive upturn in the economic climate not only in the region, but also for the country,” stated Mhlaluka.
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), seemed to echo Mhlaluka’s positivity with projections of significant growth in vehicle production, exports and domestic new vehicle sales for 2018. Despite depressed trading last month – which, among other economic factors, Naamsa attributed to model run-outs ahead of new model introductions, it reported a 1.8% year-on-year improvement in sales volumes for the first time in four years.
“The improvement, due to modest gains in new car and light commercial vehicle sales, was encouraging, given subdued economic growth, pressure on consumers’ disposable income and low levels of consumer and business confidence,” Naamsa said.
Acknowledging the importance of TPT’s relationships with key stakeholders in the region, Mhlaluka also highlighted a trial project with Ford that successfully took place in late 2017 that saw 42 Ford Ranger bakkies be transported by rail from Kaalfontein (Gauteng) to Port Elizabeth. “This was the first trial project the Port of Port Elizabeth did with Ford and now there are more projects in the pipeline. Collaborating with Ford as a client to successfully transport these vehicles demonstrates the need for us to work with key stakeholders and our fellow Transnet Operating Divisions in order to achieve increased volumes and quicker turnaround times. We want to continue diversifying our service offering and to keep improving our standard of service to customers, as has been the case here. The fact that Transnet was chosen to handle this cargo also reflects the confidence that customers have in us to meet their needs,” stated Mhlaluka.
This project epitomised the benefits of Transnet’s Value Chain Corridor in action (TVCC) and saw the likes of Transnet Port Terminals working closely with Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and Transnet Engineering (TE) to ensure operations ran smoothly in this joint initiative.
Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) Port Elizabeth Port Manager, Rajesh Dana, also added, “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 transhipment hub for Sub-Saharan Africa.”
The PE Car Terminal is one of the best performing RoRo terminals in the ports system and has received numerous accolades for service excellence. The terminal is equipped with modern equipment and skilled staff that works with one berth, which has an operational capacity of 200,000 fully built units with 5000 parking bays, a car wash facility and road /rail connectivity. It occupies 14% of the port land.