SOUTH AFRICA – Justin Chadwick, the CEO of the Citrus Growers Association (CGA), has expressed that the implementation of the Transnet National Rail Policy will lead to significant logistical improvements in the citrus industry.

According to Chadwick, opening up space for private sector investment will enable equitable access and alignment of both the primary and secondary rail networks.

The state-owned ports and rail company, Transnet, has been deteriorating over time, posing an existential threat to Africa’s most industrialized economy.

The newsletter outlines that this crisis could be easily resolved through policy reforms and partnerships on key strategic networks.

 The implementation of the national rail policy as one of the first and most crucial reforms is deemed commendable in the report.

“Another important reform is the highly anticipated partnership between Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) and the Philippines-based International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) to manage the Pier 2 Container Terminal in Durban,” Chadwick continues.

In his view, the partnership agreement, which will be in place by April 2024, along with Transnet’s track record, suggests that a turnaround is inevitable.

“We look forward to making progress through a successful partnership in managing the Ngqura Container Terminal (NCT) at the Coega port,” outlines the report.

He then suggested that the ship and terminal landside performance should be radically improved ahead of the 2024 peak citrus season.

Other threats to transporting fresh produce are outlined further in a recent publication by Food Manufacturing.

The article lists supply chain disruptors that are associated with temperature control, regulatory compliance, information sharing, and finding suitable partners.

Apparently, maintaining the correct temperature throughout the supply chain journey does more than just keep food safe and fresh; it also preserves its appearance.

“While this may sound trivial, consumers make produce purchases based on appearance and consistently choose products that look and feel fresh,” outlines the report. “This results in 30% of food being discarded due to its undesirable appearance.”

Expounding on regulatory requirements, the report informs that 32 million Americans experience food allergies.

Cross-contamination is, thus, another necessary precaution for carriers to take when loading, storing, and unloading produce intended for consumption.

To improve information sharing, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US recently announced that stakeholders must keep records for critical tracking events (CTEs) in the food supply chain by 2026, according to the report.

“Through emerging food trends, new rules and regulations, and supply chain disruptions, logistics professionals play a key role in ensuring consumer safety,” concludes the report on the importance of finding the right logistics partner.


For all the latest fresh produce industry news updates from Africa, Middle East and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.