The South African Table Grape Industry (Sati) body and other role-players were able to find ways to get around the Cape Town Port delays to get containers out during the current peak packing and export weeks. Up to Week 04 more than 2,8 million cartons of table grapes, accounting for almost 10% of grape volumes exported to date, were shipped via conventional vessels. This is almost triple the volume of grapes shipped via conventional vessels during the entire 2022/2023 season. About 2,000 containers (FEU’s) need to be exported weekly for the next four to five weeks, before volumes start tapering down.
Divergent strategies by various shipping lines to omit Cape Town and call at other ports such as PE, Durban and Walvis Bay account for approximately 5,000 containers (FEUs) of all goods (not only grapes) thus far, this season. This equates to about 3-4 days of uninterrupted work at the Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) that has shifted to other ports.
Up to Week 04, approximately 750 containers (FEUs) or 2.7 million cartons of table grapes were diverted from Cape Town Port (most sailed from PE). Further pressure was alleviated from the struggling port of Cape Town by shipping increased volumes of fruit via specialised reefer vessels (conventional vessels) which do not need to make use of the CTCT, reports Sati.
National volumes update
A total of 47.2 million cartons were inspected for export up until Week 04, which is 22% more than the same time last year. A total of 30 million cartons were exported up until Week 04, which is largely on par with the previous season. A difference of 17.3 million cartons exists between inspected and exported figures.
Production region updates
The Northern Region packing will likely conclude by Friday 02 February 2024, and should reach the crop estimate of 5.8 million cartons. Logistics delays on subsequent vessels are having an obvious impact on the quality of arrivals.
Most areas in the Orange River Region have completed packing, with the crop estimate exceeded, while a final inspection volume of approximately 23.9 million cartons is expected.
Most producers (80%) in the Olifants River Region expect to finish packing in the next four weeks with the estimate of 3.4 million cartons in reach.
The Berg River Region has reported an excellent harvest year in terms of quality, expectations are to achieve close to its anticipated crop estimate of 19.1 million cartons. A bottleneck is expected to develop, due to intense packing expected for the next three weeks.
Some areas in the Hex River Region have been impacted by wildfires with minimal damage to individual farms reported, however the situation is largely under control and not expected to impact the harvest size or quality. About 23.5 million cartons is expected.