In the midst of the record citrus export season, Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) Nelson Mandela Bay ports have successfully complemented the Port of Cape Town, which was negatively affected by COVID-19.

Apart from handling the fruit at the Port of PE’s breakbulk facilities, the two Eastern Cape ports’ container terminals estimate to handle more than 460 000 pallets by the end of the fruit season. Despite the Covid pandemic, what has contributed to the Port of PE’s success?

Sujit Bhagattjee (TNPA New Business Development Manager and Exporters Eastern Cape committee member) (bottom left photo), together with Marine Operations and the Harbour Master Ophelia Shabane (bottom right photo), spearheaded a request from the shipping lines for fruit to be handled at the port’s Multi-Purpose Terminal. This resulted in the Perishable Products Exports Control Board (PPECB) giving their stamp of approval. The port’s customer-centric and flexible approach accommodated an increased number of vessels handled.

The Port of PE has additionally seen the resurgence of palletised fruit, mainly at the Multi-Purpose Terminal, due to a worldwide shortage of reefer containers and also some of the receiving ports in the world using older technology. During the Covid pandemic and the citrus export season, the Port Elizabeth Container Terminal has once again proven its strategic importance to the complementary South African container terminal system in supporting the SA economy.


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