‘A truly historic moment’ – Citrus Growers Association’s Justin Chadwick on how specialised reefer ships will boost the industry.

The largest specialised reefer ship (refrigerated cargo ship) in the world docked in Durban’s port last week.

The MV Cool Eagle is visiting our shores to meet increasing export demand for South Africa’s citrus produce.

t’s “a truly historic moment” for the citrus industry and the country as a whole says the Citrus Growers Association (CGA).

Local growers are expected to export around 160 million cartons of citrus during the 2021 season.

Bruce Whitfield interviews the CGA’s CEO, Justin Chadwick.

Specialised reefer vessels have holds and the fruit is in pallets which go into the different holds.

Justin Chadwick, CEO – Citrus Growers Association

The Cool Eagle… can take 1.1 million cartons, opposed to the older-generation vessels that took about 400,000 cartons.

Justin Chadwick, CEO – Citrus Growers Association

She is on her maiden voyage. She went from New Zealand to Rotterdam and now she’s come to Durban, so we’re really excited about that!

Justin Chadwick, CEO – Citrus Growers Association

The Cool Eagle helps solve a huge problem for the country’s citrus farmers – the current congestion at our ports in terms of both cold storage facilities and container terminals.

At the container terminals there are additional issues in terms of productivity and space… These vessels are serviced mostly out of private terminals…

Justin Chadwick, CEO – Citrus Growers Association

The cold stores become full. If you have just one of those vessels coming in it takes the equivalent of many, many containers and so empty those cold stores and then allows them to fill up with new fruit.

Justin Chadwick, CEO – Citrus Growers Association

The Cool Eagle’s next stops after Durban are Gqeberha and Cape Town.

Then the vessel sets off for Rotterdam in The Netherlands before moving on to St Petersburg in Russia.

“I expect there will be about five calls by these massive ships during the season” says Chadwick.

Source: Cape Talk