Rail transportation key for citrus industry growth0 (0)

Rail transportation key for citrus industry growth
0 (0)

August 27, 2023

Improved transportation, cold storage and port terminal capacity, and more reefer containers are vital requirements if South Africa is to meet a potential of 206 million cartons of citrus by 2027.According to Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers Association (CGA), these four categories will need serious attention to sustain the growth in export potential. It would also have to be aligned at a regional level, where some production regions and corridors need a greater focus than others due to the growth rate.However, Chadwick said one of the most important aspects at present was rail transportation. “If we calculate as an example the collective growth in demand for the Northern production regions combined, the peak season weekly trips go from 2 200 truck trips per week to over 3 000 (36%) by 2027. An additional 250 truck trips per week for ambient transport and 560 for refrigerated transport will be required. This demand is calculated at a net-zero rail transport factor. To keep the current peak road transport demand balanced against the growth forecast for this region, 18 000 pallets per week will need to be transported from the northern regions to the port by rail. Since the only viable option to transport citrus by rail is to run containers on reefer trains, this means at least 900 reefer containers will need to be railed to port,” he said.This translates to around 20 weekly train trips to Maputo, Durban and Cape Town. He said this was a massive undertaking, but there was no other option.

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