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Covid-19: ‘terrible timing’ for South African citrus industry

Covid-19: ‘terrible timing’ for South African citrus industry

29 June 2020

 

South Africa hasn’t yet reached the expected peak of Covid-19 infections but it’s rapidly approaching: the rate of infections has quadrupled since the start of the month, reports Eyewitness News.

Gauteng is expecting to overtake the Western Cape as the epicentre of the pandemic – just when schools are re-opening.

In his most recent Covid-19 memo the CEO of the South African Citrus Growers’ Association has called the timing of the peak of the pandemic “terrible”, coming as it does right at the peak of the citrus season.

 

Free Covid-19 compliance training within citrus industry
The most important person now is a company’s Covid-19 compliance officer, Justin Chadwick has said before, in order to maintain the continuity that is needed to move the large volumes of citrus.

The citrus organisation has been offering free Covid-19 compliance courses to citrus companies, packhouses and cooling facilities. Chadwick notes that the response from farms has been swift, but there are cold stores and inspection points yet to register a Covid-19 compliance officer with the CGA.

South Africa now has 138,000 confirmed cases and almost 2,500 deaths.

 

Cape Town omitted by shipping lines
The terminals at Durban, Port Elizabeth and Nqgura are working without delays, although the latter two have to absorb large volumes trucked from the Western Cape to offset the impact of Cape Town’s constrained capacity, due to Covid-19 and reduced staffing levels.

“The main European continental services provided by MSC and the SAECS VSA provided by Maersk, Safmarine, DAL, ONE Line and Hamburg Sud are omitting Cape Town at this time with Cape Town being serviced by these lines with alternative services,” writes Mitchell Brooke of the CGA and Werner van Rooyen of the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum in their daily logistics update.

 

“This is deemed a much more conducive measure to keep the supply of citrus consistent. Transnet are in the process of gearing the Cape Town container terminal to reach 100% operating capacity and this should be achieved quite soon, with the main backlog of vessels being cleared over a short period of time (many vessels are bypassing Cape Town so the vessel backlog is only 6 vessels at this time).”

 

Source: FreshPlaza.com

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