Fears about Durban's new R100-million car terminal running out of space are unfounded, according to Naamsa's chairman, Nico Vermeulen.

Fears about Durban's new R100-million car terminal running out of space are unfounded, according to Naamsa's chairman, Nico Vermeulen.

The new car terminal opened last year month, and doubled the facility's capacity to 7 000 parking slots. It will be officially handed over to the South African Ports Operations later this month.

According to , the manager of the Durban car terminal, Bev Masson, on Friday said the volume growth for the terminal indicated that the terminal had sufficient capacity until 2006 or 2007.

Durban port is a common-user facility with all imports, except those of General Motors and DaimlerChrysler, which use Port Elizabeth and East London respectively, being imported through it.

The projected figure for 2006 was 260 000 vehicles and Masson said management was aware of the growth trends indicating the extension could reach its capacity by 2007. She believed that "careful management" would help to extend its lifespan.

Speaking to CARtoday.com on Monday, Vermeulen confirmed that there was adequate space available at the terminal until 2007.

"With careful management and solid logistics of units in and units out and the speed at which they move, the terminal's lifespan should exceed its projected timeframe," said Vermeulen.

Tony Twine of Econometrix said: "If the major point of entry becomes constipated, this would force importers to examine other options, the most obvious, for logistical purposes, being Maputo harbour."

Maputo harbour has already been thrown into the port debate with congestion at the main South African ports last year prompting BMW SA to consider using Maputo.

However, it was also mentioned last year that the Rosslyn-based manufacturer would only use this facility if its production were stepped up and if the facilities and infrastructure in and around the port were improved.

Twine said other options available to importers were East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town harbours, though the further west they moved, the greater the distance to the major South African markets.

But with local manufacturers receiving greater export contracts and the Motor Industry Development Programme gaining speed, Twine said it would be far more worrying if exports were to be affected.

Original article from Car