In the face of what may have seemed like insurmountable odds South Africa’s citrus exporters managed to exceed all expectations, with 146 million cartons of fruit shipped to various destinations across the world.
Although this figure is yet to be finalised, the provisional quantum of citrus shipped this season was realised despite the manifold challenges exporters faced such as Covid-19 lockdown regulations, weather-related delays at port, and other impediments to logistics.
According to Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA), the figure of 146 million cartons is the equivalent of 1.85 million pallets, some 66 100 truck trips to port cold stores, and 83 000 reefer containers.
It included 198 000 pallets shipped in specialised reefer ships from the country’s four main ports.
“This is certainly an amazing accomplishment if one considers the many hurdles the industry faced from the 27th March – when the Covid-19 lockdown started – until now.”
The need for specialised reefer vessels resulted in a 33% increase of these shipments to countries like Japan, China and the USA, the last destination yielding a record of 12 sailings this year.
Shipments to the EU and Russia had also gone well although containerised exports had often been delayed, Chadwick said.