The logistics behind the apple in your hand

Most people don’t really give it a second thought, but: the apple in your hand; where was it grown? How did it get from the tree into a bag? How did the bag end up on the shelf? South Africa’s Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing has the answers.

Due to negative price pressure from supermarkets around the world, one of the only ways Tru-Cape can maximize value back to growers is to cut costs as much as possible. Although very complicated, logistics-the route of the fruit from the farm to the packaging plant to the shelves-is now mainly handled internally by Tru-Cape and in cooperation with the supply chain management company LINK.

Tru-Cape's Logistics Manager Christine Bönker explains: "We can load on any given day around 28, 40-foot refrigerated containers at Two-A-Day in Grabouw alone, each weighing around 30,000kg when fully loaded. We use nine different shipping lines to export our fruit from all four of the main ports in South Africa: Coega, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Durban.“

"In the busiest weeks this year, we have shipped more than 600,000 cartons of fruit which will arrive in 105 countries around the world. In a standard container, we can place approximately 1176 cartons on 21 pallets.“

“Each standard apple carton weighs 18.25kg, so you know that is many apples. Last year Tru-Cape shipped upwards of 5800 containers around the world which, to place it in perspective, is an average of 15 containers every day of the year. This year we have reached a monumental milestone as we have already shipped more than 63% of last year's volumes in less than half of 2021."

To reach London Gateway, one of the major ports for the UK, fruit will be on the sea for upwards of two weeks with the aim to be on the shelves by week four after shipping while, to reach China, in the Far East, it may take three to four weeks without delay.


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