Silver lining: COVID-19 adds zest to EC citrus exports

20 May 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202019110

Agriculture
Commerce & Trade
Harbour Infrastructure & Shipping
Import / Export
Materials Handling & Bulk Handling
Transport, Distribution & Logistics

DESPITE the logistical challenges raised by the lockdown, the citrus export season – one of the mainstays of the Eastern Cape economy - has gotten off to a good start, with a notable increase in global demand evident so far.

That’s according to Rajesh Dana, Port Elizabeth Port Manager, who said the impact of COVID-19 on other countries had led to a marked increase in the demand for citrus supplies from South Africa.

Another reason cited for the increase in demand is the international drive for healthy foods to boost immune systems. Lemons for example, fall in the category of Vitamin C products, which is an immune booster.

The citrus export season kicked off in the Eastern Cape recently when the Maersk operated vessel, Kmarin Aqua, docked at the Port of PE’s Berth 103. The vessel discharged 850 containers, of which 524 were reefer containers for the export of citrus.

“With the negative economic impact that COVID-19 has presented, not only to South Africa but to the entire world, it is significant that the Port of PE can ensure the efficient facilitation of imports and exports, whilst ensuring strict compliance to all regulations in managing the safety, security and health concerns of our employees, customers, port users and stakeholders,” Dana said.

“The Port of PE COVID-19 Level 4 operations are geared towards ensuring that we continue to be a customer centric multi-cargo port that prides itself on flexibility and service excellence.

“We are proud that we are able to provide our full maritime service offering which includes, Vessel Traffic Services, two tug boats, pilotage and berthing crew, which are operational 24 hours, seven days a week to ensure that we adequately meet shipping needs during this difficult time. This ensures that the Port of PE continues to play its part in reviving economic activity and facilitating the economic recovery of our region and South Africa,” Dana said.

At the time of publishing, the vessel has sailed from the port and was at anchorage awaiting a return visit to load more cargo.

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