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South Africa's table grape exports increased by 17% in 2023/24 season

South Africa's 2023/2024 table grape season ended with the overall national harvest size that remained more or less aligned with the revised crop estimate and at the end of the season, with a total inspected of 75.7 million cartons and total exported at 73.5 million cartons (4.5 kg cartons equivalent).

"The general sentiment is that it was a season of missed opportunities due to logistical challenges, but at the same time most producers feel it was an acceptable season overall," notes AJ Griesel, outgoing SATI CEO. He says the 2023/24 season posed logistics challenges and required a collaborative effort from shipping lines, logistics role-players and producers to find alternative solutions.

The initial crop estimate for the season was anticipated at 73 million cartons. This was updated in January 2024 due to the Orange River Region having a bigger harvest than expected, they packed a total of 24.2 million cartons.

Over the last 10 years, the South African table grapes industry has observed a 2.7% growth (CAGR) in inspection volumes. The 2023/24 season ended 2-3 weeks earlier than last season, due to changing weather patterns and rain experienced in the Hex River during the mid-late season.

Jacques Ferreira, SATI Commercial Affairs Manager: "Two of the lowest points in the 2023/24 table grape export season were probably the delays of the MSC Mattina and the Santa Clara. During week 52 the MSC Mattina, which carried almost 500,000 cartons destined for Canada/USA, experienced significant delays due to crane breakdowns at CTMPT. During week 02 the Santa Clara, which carried in excess of four million cartons, was delayed and almost forced to leave more than 600 reefers of fruit behind. Alternative ports were utilised to alleviate the pressure at Cape Town port. A total of 7.8 million cartons were exported from Port Elizabeth, equating 10,6 % of total table grape volumes. A total of 7.1 million cartons (table grapes) were exported via conventional vessels, equating 9.6% of total volumes."

"Overall, table grape exports increased by 17% compared to last season (73,5 million cartons in 2023/24 vs. 63.9 million the previous season). The volume of exports that went through the CTCT and MPT combined decreased by more than 5% (833 FEU's), from 56.9 million cartons the previous season to 53.9 million cartons in 2023/24. A total of 14 conventional vessels exported table grapes during the past season between weeks 48 and 13."

The top exported cultivars from South Africa showing the most growth displayed, Sweetglobe (+28%), Autumncrisp (+20%), Early Sweet (+24%) and Ivory (+128%).

"As an industry body, SATI has explored an alternative to help improve future logistics scenarios, in the form of a predictive model which will be introduced today by Transnova Africa," says Griesel.

For more information:
Jacques Ferreira
Tel: +27 72 641 7881
Email: [email protected]

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