South African blueberry exports rise, as does sea freight use

As South African blueberry exports rise, so does use of sea freight

South African blueberry exports hit another consecutive record in the 2020-21 season, growing to 14,063 metric tons (MT) from 11,703MT in the previous campaign.

Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) explained that while that increase was carried by air freight and sea freight combined, as the year progressed, air freight capacity was under pressure due to Covid-related disruption, and so an increased volume was moved by sea.

"Looking ahead, it is predicted that South Africa will grow some 50,000 metric tons of the antioxidant superfood annually and that the majority will be exported," MSC said.

"The proportion of the fruit shipped by sea is growing fast, too, in part due to Covid-related disruptions."

Source: Export Report for Blueberries Compiled by BerriesZA, 14 January 2021

MSC said it quickly stepped in to help, bringing its first-ever shipment of blueberries from South Africa to Europe in September.

The fruit traveled from Cape Town to Rotterdam via its weekly ‘NWC to South Africa’ service. It also carried smaller volumes to the Middle East and Far East.

Giuseppe Prudente, MSC’s Chief Logistics Officer said: “Blueberries and avocados are considered superfoods and demand is rising globally.

"To be involved in the market development and export of these commodities is very exciting for MSC. The timing is also perfect for us, as the South African blueberry export season starts in September – just as the citrus season comes to an end.”