But general container trade continues decline

RSA: Strong crop output sees export market growth

The slowing Chinese economy is contributing to declining container trade in South Africa, and this is expected to continue. Yet strong crop outputs for apples, pears and grapes, meant that the refrigerated export market continued to see robust growth of 7 percent in 2015. Grapes showed the strongest growth relative to a poor 2014, coupled with stronger prices in Europe.

Dirk Hoffman, a managing director at Safmarine Southern Africa, a Maersk Group subsidiary, said “It is not looking rosy for team South Africa,” as he unpacked the Maersk trade report for the fourth quarter of 2015.

Hoffman said both import and export markets declined by 4 percent and 6 percent, respectively, in the quarter under review compared with the previous comparable period.

Hoffman added that as the rand remained volatile, imported goods would remain expensive for consumers whose disposable income was shrinking. “Overall, the 2016 container market is facing numerous economic obstacles, and therefore growth is not expected,” Hoffman said.

“It is anticipated that the import and export container market will contract by about 5 percent during the first quarter.”

Shipping is one of the leading indicators of the state of the economy. Hoffman said, however, Safmarine remained optimistic despite the weakening currency.

He also said the local fruit market would grow in 2016, but with the drought and excessive heat, the fruit industry would probably see less exports over the next 12 months.

Despite the storm in the global economic environment, Hoffman said that shareholders remained committed to South Africa and southern Africa.

Source: iol.co.za

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