COVID-19 did quite a number on the handling speeds at the Port of Cape Town. Now, however, exports of most agricultural products have been proceeding apace, with a reported 1.94 million cartons of export approved citrus crops on their way to foreign markets.
Amid the easing of restrictions under lockdown level two, operations have since normalised with COVID-19 positive cases among port staff reduced to a manageable level. Things are looking up, confirms port manager, Mpumi Dweba Kwetana. “May the terminal continue to take its performance to new heights and encourage the return of more container business to the Port of Cape Town,” she says.
Although the situation has improved a lot, the road to recovery is going to require much needed improvements and careful planning to mitigate challenges ahead, says operational manager of the Fresh Produce Exporters Forum (FPEF), Werner Van Rooyen.
Foodformzansi.co.za quoted Van Rooyen as saying: “COVID-19 is an unknown phenomenon which we couldn’t plan for. We didn’t know how it would manifest, we didn’t know how to approach it and also some of the measures that were implemented by government required us to definitely take hands and (collaboratively) work on it. There were numerous challenges, but with successful engagement with Transnet we mitigated most of them to some extent.”