SOUTH AFRICA – Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has called for terminal operators to express their interest in establishing a facility to handle citrus and other fruit at the Port of Durban.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) targets interested operators who will design, develop, finance, construct, operate, maintain, and transfer a multi-purpose terminal for the handling of the fruits and other break bulk cargo.

Currently, Maydon Wharf is the main precinct for general cargo and has been developed in phases since the early twentieth century.

The precinct extends over approximately 145 hectares with 15 common-user berths and has annual cargo capacity of more than seven million tons.

“Responses to the RFP will assist TNPA in responding to potential investors in the agricultural industry,” TNPA said.

“Bidders are required to submit bid responses for the exclusive right to complete the financing, refurbishment, procurement of terminal equipment, operation, maintenance, and transfer of the facility to TNPA after the concession period of 25 years.”

RFP documents can be accessed from the National Treasury’s e-tender portal and the Transnet website with the submission deadline for responses to the RFP set for 26 January 2024 at 16:00.

Emerging concerns over increased carbon emissions and the rising cost of air freight are pushing fresh produce exporters to rely more on sea than air freight.

According to a report by DSV, a global transport and logistics company, fruits such as oranges and apples are readily transportable by sea. 

For efficiency, many types of chilled and fresh produce, and other types of fruits, have to be transported at specific, low temperature ranges.

According to the company, one of the biggest sea freight trade lanes for perishables (fruits, vegetables, flowers) is Intra-Asia. Africa, especially South Africa, predominantly exports fruits by sea to Europe.

Though it takes vegetables 28-32 days to arrive in the European Union by sea, DSV revealed that french beans and peas are fresher compared to those transported by air.

This outcome is as a result of the designed structure which ensures the cold chain system is maintained from farm, all the way into the market by sea.

“But when you transport by air, there is a short window where you break the cold chain from the pack house in the airport to the airside as you wait to load into the aircraft,” explained the report.

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