South Africa

Hapag-Lloyd to boost South African citrus exports with weekly service

Hapag-Lloyd plans a weekly service to ship citrus products from two South African ports in time for the peak season in the world’s second-biggest exporter of fruits. 

The new service by the world’s No. 5 container carrier will start by the end of May – in time for the bulk of the 2024 season’s citrus – and run until September, leaving from the ports of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal province and Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape, the Citrus Growers Association of Southern Africa said in an emailed statement Thursday. 

“Recent shipping-price spikes due to attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, as well as drought-related complications affecting the Panama Canal, have shown how exposed many fruit exporters are to increases in shipping rates,” the CGA said.

It views “any measure that can introduce some stability and competition into the shipping market as a step forward.”

Export boost 

The association estimated that South Africa could increase its citrus exports in the coming season.

Its goal is to export an additional 100 million cartons by 2032 compared with 165.1 million cartons shipped last year.

South African exports of deciduous fruits this season have declined because of equipment breakdowns and staff shortages at the port of Cape Town.

State-owned ports and freight-rail operator Transnet is working to address the issues by raising the number of gantries in operation during the peak season. 

Management upheaval, derailments and equipment shortages have dogged South Africa’s freight-rail system and all its main ports, hindering supply chains and stifling economic growth. 


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