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Fruit Exports Affected As Strike Continues At South African Ports

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Since early October, employees of South African port terminal operator Transnet have been on strike over wages, with Transnet claiming force majeure at all South African ports.

The Berries Association of South Africa (BerriesZA) has asked the government to intervene urgently and forcefully in the strike, saying in a statement that more than 1/3 of local berry producers are unprofitable and the strike will put producers' livelihoods in serious jeopardy.

South Africa's berry export business, especially blueberry export business, is just starting, it is an important stage to develop international markets, the port strike will undoubtedly bring a huge blow to the industry. The berry harvest season in South Africa lasts from September to November and is currently at the peak of the export season. Due to system inefficiencies and port staff shortages, the South African berry industry is facing a number of transportation challenges, including delays in shipments.

South Africa's first exports of drupes have been harvested and packed, but due to the small quantities, exports are primarily by air, with large-scale sea shipments expected to begin in early November.

South African fruit shipments such as apples and citrus are also late, and the South African Citrus Growers Association (CGA) said they are closely monitoring the situation and continue to attend Transnet's port operations meetings.

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