SOUTH AFRICA – Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) and the Multipurpose Terminal (MPT) shipping lines have taken strategic measures to divert vessels to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, aiming to alleviate the pressure on the struggling container terminal.

This move is in response to mounting challenges at the Port of Cape Town forcing South Africa’s fruit sector to implementing wide-ranging measures to alleviate pressure on the struggling container terminal.

Acknowledging the impact of these challenges on exports and arrivals, the South African Table Grape Grower organization (Sati) highlighted the collaborative efforts with Agbiz and Fruit South Africa to engage with Transnet and government stakeholders.

Sati is actively pursuing interventions at the highest levels to address the ongoing challenges and mitigate the impact on the current grape season.

“Together with Agbiz and Fruit South Africa members, we continue to actively engage with Transnet and the government role-players at the highest levels to expedite intervention which will mitigate impact of these events of the current grape season,” stated Sati.

In a bid to adhere as closely as possible to original shipment schedules, exporters are employing several measures.

Some fruit is being transported by road to Port Elizabeth, bypassing Cape Town. Additionally, specialized reefers are now departing Cape Town weekly, destined for the European Union and the United Kingdom, further alleviating pressure on the port.

Sati emphasized the commitment of South Africa to provide all markets with quality table grapes and called on stakeholders throughout the value chain to handle grape arrivals responsibly.

Despite the challenges, the industry remains dedicated to maintaining the standard of excellence associated with South African table grapes.

The Container Terminal in Cape Town has witnessed a notable improvement in performance since the industry’s crisis talks with the Transnet team last week.

However, a return to normalcy will take time as the grape season reaches its peak shipments, with pears and stonefruit also vying for limited space.

Sati’s statement encapsulates the sector’s determination to navigate the challenges collectively: “For table grapes to arrive in markets as close as possible to the originally planned dates, a number of measures have been taken.”

While addressing immediate concerns, these industry-led initiatives aim to ensure the resilience and reliability of South Africa’s fruit exports, crucial for both local growers and international markets.

As the grape season progresses, stakeholders are closely monitoring developments to sustain the momentum of these strategic measures.

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