Bay citrus exports off to good start
Despite Covid-19, the Eastern Cape citrus industry is still on a roll.
Rajesh Dana, port manager at the Port of Port Elizabeth, said the Maersk-operated vessel Kmarin Aqua had docked on Tuesday carrying 1,800 boxes to start the season’s citrus exports from the Bay.
The vessel discharged 850 containers, of which 524 were reefer containers to pack the citrus, he said.
“With the negative economic impact that Covid-19 has presented not only to SA, but to the entire world, it is significant that the Port of Port Elizabeth can ensure the efficient facilitation of imports and exports.
“This while ensuring strict compliance to all regulations about the safety, security and health concerns of our employees, customers, port users and stakeholders.
“The Port of Port Elizabeth Covid-19 level four operations are geared towards ensuring that we continue to be a customer-centric, multi-cargo port that prides itself on flexibility and service excellence.”
Dana said he and his team were proud to be able to provide a full maritime service offering.
“This service 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 Port Elizabeth continues to play its part in reviving economic activity and facilitating the economic recovery of our region and SA.”
Despite the logistical challenges the lockdown had brought about, SA’s citrus export season had got off to a good start with a notable increase in global demand being evident so far, he said.
“As a result of some of the effects of Covid-19 in other countries, there has been a marked increase in the demand for citrus supplies from SA.
“Another reason that has been 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.”