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All South African citrus “Floating Consignments” to be unloaded in Rotterdam

Earlier this month, 8th September, the South African Citrus Growers voluntary recommended to suspended citrus exports for the 2014 season from all CBS non PFA’s.

This excluded Mandarins and citrus from CBS PFA’s [Western and Northern Cape registered areas in terms of 2006/473/EU]. Fruit which was packed and inspected prior to the 8th September and on their way to the EU are referred to as the “Floating Consignments”.

"The EU and SA agreed that this fruit 'on route' will not be turned away and may still enter the EU, after a phyto sanitary inspection. To avoid a repeat of 2013 and minimize potential CBS interceptions on these “floating consignments”, SA have placed huge focus on this fruit," stated the CGA.

SA growers and exporters have been requested to change the destinations of the “floating consignments” away from the EU market to other destinations. This to assist retaining normal EU trade for 2015 and avoid restrictions (now and in the future). The reaction from the growers and exporters is said to have been excellent.

For the fruit remaining “on route” to the EU, the CGA have advised the industry to reroute that fruit and enter the EU via Rotterdam. This is to enable DAFF to do “pre import screening inspection” for CBS on the majority of fruit still to enter the EU from the non PFA’s and further mitigate the risk of CBS interceptions.

The reaction from the industry have been very supportive based on the information received by shipping lines.

The CGA was then successful with the very able intervention of Frugiventa [Dutch Fruit & Trade Platform] to institute such a “screening CBS inspection” prior to the normal EU import inspection. This, if successful and efficient may become a model for future risk mitigation.

CGA say both DAFF and the Dutch NPPO and their Inspection Service – KCB [Kwaliteits Controle Bureau] need to be commended for working actively with the SA Citrus Stakeholders [growers, ex- and importers alike] and making this possible. Both have been creative and flexible to agree on protocols and procedures.

From this weekend [ships arriving 29 September] all citrus fruit from non PFA’s arriving in Rotterdam for discharge, will be subject to a mandatory “pre-screening inspection for CBS.

DAFF is placing a senior inspector in Rotterdam region for the next 3 weeks to run this comprehensive operation. DAFF will be supported by the very reputable DFQS [Droogendijk Fruit Quality Services], well known by SA Citrus stake holders and their team dedicated and contracted by CGA, consisting of 7 registered inspectors and planners.

Initially it was foreseen that all arriving citrus fruit would have to be rerouted via one facility near Rotterdam, to enable the pre-screening inspection.
It would unfortunately have resulted in delays and additional transport and storage costs to the Industry.

Now this big team will allow all imports/clearance/inspections to take place in their normal locations and notice for EU import inspection remain under Dutch NPPO and KCB existing arrangements. The planners at KCB and DFQS will coordinate the DAFF controlled “pre-clearance inspection” to take place just prior to the EU import inspection.

The DFQS inspectors will execute the pre –screening inspection and will place any suspect consignments of CBS “on hold”. The DAFF inspector will inspect these consignments and take the final decision if this shipment is to be removed from the EU under new phytosanitary certification.

The fruit not “cleared” by DFQS will be “released” and their SA phytosanitary certificate will be valid for EU import inspection and the normal process remain in place.

The cost of these extended and expanded personnel services are substantial and will borne by the CGA on behalf of the Citrus Industry, but will ultimately save the industry a lot of disruption and even higher costs.

The CGA said that because two inspections have to be performed it will result in some delays. "Please endure these, understanding that our future market access are at stake and SA must show dedication and commitment. Given the importance of what is involved, we hope that everyone will understand."

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