Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa says it has started exporting its locally built Ranger and Ranger Raptor models from Port Elizabeth, in addition to shipping models from Durban.

The move is part of the Blue Oval brand’s effort to expand its vehicle export operations by adopting what it terms a “multi-port strategy”. Before now, of course, Ford’s outbound vehicles were shipped exclusively from Durban Harbour.

The first shipment of around 1 000 locally assembled Ranger units sent from PE was destined for various markets in Europe. The firm said it would now ship vehicles twice per month to various European ports.

The bakkies were transported from Ford’s Silverton assembly plant in Pretoria to Port Elizabeth using Transnet Freight Rail infrastructure.

“We are experiencing unprecedented demand for the Ford Ranger around the world, and have invested over R3-billion in the recent expansion of our production capacity in our South African operations to fulfil these orders,” said Ockert Berry, vice-president of operations for Ford Middle East and Africa.

“Together with Transnet, we evaluated how a multi-port strategy could benefit both parties by improving the use of current assets, reducing costs, avoiding the ongoing congestion in the Durban terminal and utilising other ports for imports and exports,” Berry added.