South African apple and pear distributor Tru-Cape has completed a new facility to expand operations with big plans to increase volumes for African neighbors including Mozambique, Lesotho, Tanzania and Botswana.
Tru-Cape managing director Roelf Pienaar says the new City Deep facility in Johannesburg is five times larger than the previous operation that has served the company, as well as grower-owners Ceres Fruit Growers and the Two-a-Day Group, for the last 30 years.
“This new building will help us achieve our goals for the next decade and more,” he says in an announcement.
Based on trees already planted, Pienaar estimates Tru-Cape will have 18 million cartons of fruit to place in the market within the next five years and the new 4,000-square-meter office, storage and distribution center is needed for such large volumes and expansion.
“Our focus has always been on establishing a good strong local market brand and this continues with renewed energy.
“We will now have capacity for 1,152 pallets of fruit as well as administration and meeting spaces. This will allow us to better and more frequently replenish our local customers but also to plan to further expand our cross-border business into Africa, already 36% more year-on-year.
“Increased cross-border business with Mozambique, Lesotho, Tanzania and Botswana, is the most significant growth trend with road freight leaving from Johannesburg into sub-Saharan Africa ever more frequently. We have created spaces in our new building especially dedicate to offering these customers a working and rest space.”
The building has three loading bays, five cold storage rooms to accommodate 240 pallets as well as a holding and inspection facility allowing for quality and phytosanitary inspection on-site.
“There will be three plug-in points for refrigerated containers to effectively maintain the cold chain but the biggest benefit of our new facility is the ability to immediately replenish local retailers which were previously subjected to a 48-hour delay, while fruit was freighted from Cape Town. The end result for the consumer will be a better quality product that has had less storage time in retailers’ fridges.”
Aside from growing markets in sub-Saharan Africa, Tru-Cape also plans to diversity its fruit basket by launching other fruit and vegetable lines, although has not revealed in exactly what categories.