AT the end of June 2023, the volume of citrus handled at Durban Container Terminals was marginally lower than those of the same period last year, although this is starting to pick up. At the Eastern Cape Container Terminals, volumes are higher than the previous three years mid-season. With shipping cycles returning to normal, more shipping lines are now calling the Gqeberha and Ngqura Container Terminals. Average year-on-year comparisons show a 9.2% volume increase in this region.
“With the exception of the Eastern Cape, we have noted a slow start to the citrus season in general. There are a number of factors at play including lower crop yields due to weather, as well as the European Union’s cold treatment legislation which combined have reduced export opportunities”, said general manager of Commercial and Planning at Transnet Port Terminals, Michelle van Buren Schele. She added that Transnet remained optimistic of a strong, albeit later, finish with three months before the end of the season. “Volumes are starting to pick up in Durban after delayed production of valencia and mandarin fruits. This will also contribute to peak export flows” she said.
Annually, Transnet Port Terminals prioritises refrigerated containers between the April and September months by having dedicated lanes at all terminals and ensuring maximum availability of resources around the clock. Despite lower volumes in Durban owing to lower production from northern regions, the terminals were still committed to improving efficiency with the robust programs in place.
The citrus season is one of South Africa’s biggest as the country ranks amongst the top suppliers of citrus fruits in the world. During this season, Transnet Port Terminals handles vessels destined for over 100 markets.