While volumes look set to beat initial forecasts, shipments are behind those seen at the same point of the previous campaign
The South African Table Grape Industry (Sati) has said that harvesting and packing is running slightly ahead of predictions, but shipments lag far below the levels of the same time last year.
Up to week 52 a total of 20.92m cartons (4.5 kg equivalent) were inspected for export, some 6 per cent more than the corresponding period of 2022.
If this trend continues the total South African crop could actually be higher than originally predicted.
The crucial matter is that when one compare shipping figures up to week 52 with the previous, substantially fewer grapes have been shipped this season.
Sati noted that so far, 9.87m cartons were exported up to week 52, 29 per cent lower than the previous campaign.
In its first seasonal update of the year, Sati pointed to continued problems in the port of Cape Town.
“The Cape Town Container Terminal (CTCT) has confirmed that all nine STS cranes are back in service and 21 RTGs available. Two berths are currently operational,” it said.
“Both the CTCT and MPT experienced challenges in the last weeks due to equipment breakdowns and strong winds. Productivity at the port remains lower than required for optimal efficiency, with gross crane hours averaging around 12 in the past week.
“The fruit industry continues to engage with role players at the highest levels to expedite intervention and mitigate logistical delays,” Sati continued.
“Overall, the harvest in the Northern Regions is healthy with a good berry size. Cooler temperatures experienced over the last few days meant that Brix have developed more slowly. Good weather is forecast for the foreseeable future. “
The Orange River region should finish harvesting and packing during the next four weeks. In the Olifants River region, the Berg River and the Hex River harvesting is also well underway.