South African port mix up settled
South African citrus growers have resolved their Durban port muddle over exports to Russia, getting shipping lines to give them two week's advance notice about berthing points.
Hortgro agri-economist Mitchell Brooke said the issue became a problem this season because of the option of loading at either the Fresh Produce Terminal (FPT) or the Maydon Wharf Terminal (MWT).
"If the fruit is at the wrong terminal you have to transport it to the loading terminal where the vessel is berthing and then you have extra transport fees as well as terminal charges."
Growers who ended up with fruit at the wrong terminal faced additional trucking costs, or a fee of ZAR3.57 (US$0.43) per carton if the fruit had to go into cold storage .
Seatrade confirmed they are only loading at FPT, while Baltic Shipping agreed to give at least a fortnight's notice about where a ship is to be loaded.
Citrus producers started shipping to Russia about three weeks ago but the terminal confusion was causing delays and extra costs.
Brooke said Russia was becoming an increasingly important market for South Africa, accounting for 20% of its citrus exports.
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