Ford’s bakkies give Port Elizabeth a lift

A R3-billion investment by the Ford Motor Company of South Africa (FMCSA) to boost output has resulted in the car manufacturer clinching a multi-port arrangement that has solved a return-leg problem for Transnet Freight Rail (TFR).

The first shipment of 1000 Ford Ranger bakkies, thanks to capacity expansion at the car brand’s local plants, has already been exported to European markets from Port Elizabeth.

FMCSA operations executive for Africa and the Middle East, Ockert Berry, explained that the Port Elizabeth shipment had resulted from negotiations that the car brand had held with TFR to rejig logistics between PE, Pretoria and Durban.

Ordinarily component parts from the car manufacturer’s PE plant are freighted up to its Silverton assembly line in Pretoria from where they are transported to Durban for shipment abroad, meaning TFR’s return line to PE is empty.

However, with the arrangement of shipping cars out via Port Elizabeth, that return leg now carries assembled cars going out via a different port than Durban.

PE port manager Rajesh Dana said FMCSA’s intention to ship its Pretoria bakkies via PE twice a month was expected to make a significant contribution towards the port’s volumes, additionally helping to relieve the congestion that was currently being experienced by the Port of Durban.

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