The last official specialised reefer (refrigerated container) fruit vessel calling to load citrus from the Eastern Cape through the Port of Port Elizabeth's multi-purpose terminal, docked at the port this week.
The MV Lady Rosebud docked at berth 10/11 on September 13 to discharge 45 empty reefer containers and to load 215 pallets of citrus fruit, 46 full reefer containers with citrus fruit and 37 empty reefer containers.
The vessel will leave the port on September 16, travelling to Cape Town, before setting off again with her cargo destined for Lisbon, Rotterdam and St Petersburg.
The Port Elizabeth and Ngqura ports celebrated a total of about 460 000 pallets of fruit moving across its shores this year, an estimated 44% increase from that shipped in 2019.
The terminal operators managing the cargo handling through both the container and multi-purpose terminals are Transnet Port Terminals in the Port of Ngqura, and Bidfreight Port Operations in the Port of Port Elizabeth.
Port Elizabeth senior operations manager captain Faisal Sultan says the 2020 season was challenging owing to Covid-19 and the worldwide shortage of reefer containers.
“The shortage meant a resurgence of palletised fruit exports through specialised reefer ships.”
However, he says it also presented an opportunity for the Port of Port Elizabeth as it enabled the port to play a complementary role, especially through its multi-purpose terminal as a result of challenges experienced by the ports of Durban and Cape Town.
“Covid-19 impacted the economy negatively as a whole, but it did not negatively impact citrus exports from South Africa, given our Covid-19 compliance, dedication and the record crops achieved.”