New Durban fruit terminal will boost exports

Feb 26, 2004
Author: P&S

A new cold storage under construction at Maydon Wharf in Durban will boost fruit exports particularly to Japan, says Willem Visagie, managing director of Commercial Cold Storage (CSS).

CSS is a subsidiary of the Oceana Group Ltd which has entered into partnership with SA Port Operations (SAPO), a division of Transnet Ltd, to build the specialised steri-citrus facility for the Japanese market.

“This world-class facility situated at Maydon Wharf 7 will cost in the region of R60m and is in support of government’s new ports policy to introduce greater private participation and investment in cargo handling in South African ports,” said Visagie.

The facility will have 4,800 pallets under rapid cooling for steri-citrus and a further 1,500 pallets for conventional cooling and storage, creating job opportunities for about 80 people during the citrus season.

“We have been involved in fruit export logistics since 1998 and this investment affirms our commitment to the fruit industry to provide the best possible service to our clients,” he said.

The strong growth in steri-citrus volumes to Japan and other markets has created the need for additional quayside cooling capacity. All citrus imports into Japan are subject to certain protocols with regard to the cold treatment of such fruit before entering the Japanese market. These protocols are negotiated on a government-to-government level to prevent the importation of quarantine pests from entering Japan.

Other markets like the USA, South Korea and Taiwan are also in the process of upgrading their standards and are now also demanding certain sterilisation protocols before shipment can take place,” says Lunga Ngcobo, SAPO public relations manager.

During harvest time (May to August) South Africa supplies about 85% of the demand for grapefruit, oranges and lemons to the Japanese market, with phenomenal growth being experienced between 2001 and 2003.

“We are delighted at the prospects of this partnership. Besides the obvious economic spin-offs, it offers a focused fruit operation resulting in improved utilization of assets and capacity with an increase in cargo throughput. Furthermore, it will enhance the integration of the supply chain thereby improving planning and control, ultimately optimising road and rail transport,” said Ngcobo.

The terminal is scheduled for completion by 31 March 2004, ready for the coming citrus export season which commences in April 2004.

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