Johannesburg - Grindrod is already considering a third phase expansion of its car terminal at Maputo port in Mozambique, which is a growing competitor to Transnet’s car facility in Durban.
The second phase expansion of Grindrod’s car terminal was only commissioned in July and increased its annual capacity to 121 000 units from 52 000 units.
Transnet’s car terminal in Durban has an annual capacity of more than 500 000 units.
Alan Olivier, Grindrod’s chief executive, said its Maputo terminal was operating at full capacity despite the recent expansion. He confirmed this week that the listed integrated logistics service supplier might expand the depot further but declined to comment on when this was likely to happen.
A third phase to increase annual capacity to about 191 000 units had been planned when the terminal was developed in 2007, he said.
BMW South Africa reported last month that it had introduced a dual export model involving the ports of Durban and Maputo because of the substantial increase in its production for the export market.
Volumes through Grindrod’s Maputo car terminal increased by 91 percent to 37 155 units in the six months to June from 19 424 units in the same period last year.
Olivier said the increased volumes came from the export contract signed with BMW and other vehicle imports into the terminal. He said Höegh, a Scandinavian logistics company that operated car carriers, was its joint venture partner in the Maputo terminal.
Depending on their final destination, vehicles would come to the terminal from Europe or Asia, be offloaded and reloaded onto another ship going to Australia, Europe or other locations.
However, he admitted the challenge had been to find a company like BMW to contract with. He said if BMW had a good experience from using the Maputo car terminal, “everybody will come to talk to you”.
He added: “Most of the motor manufacturers want some volume to go through Maputo, either from an export point of view or importing units. I suspect over the next while we will contract more.”
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA has projected that exports of locally produced vehicles will increase by almost 30 percent to about 361 000 units this year from 277 893 last year.
Bodo Donauer, BMW SA’s managing director, said last month that it had increased its output with the introduction of a third shift towards the end of last year. Its annual production would increase to more than 80 000 units this year from about 50 000 units last year. At the same time, the number of vehicles exported would more than double from around 33 000 to almost 70 000 vehicles a year.
He said using Maputo in conjunction with its existing export supply chain in Durban made sound business sense. He said about 20 percent, or 14 000 vehicles a year, would be exported using the Maputo car terminal but BMW SA remained committed to working closely with Transnet. It would be increasing the number of vehicles exported through Durban by more than 60 percent, or an additional 20 000 vehicles a year.
In late 2008 Nissan South Africa switched its completely built-up vehicle imports from Durban’s port to Maputo to benefit from lower costs and still uses both ports. - Business Report