Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Seasonal Reefer Container Freight Route Back For Another Year

Safmarine Commence Increased Fruit Operations Again
Shipping News Feature

SOUTH AFRICA – Container shipping line Safmarine and the other Southern Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS) member lines have reintroduced their seasonal Reefer Express (REX) service, which was first launched three years ago to provide extra capacity for agricultural freight exporters during the South African peak fruit season. Sailings were due to commence this weekend with service calls at Elizabeth/Cape Town/Tilbury/Rotterdam/Port Elizabeth with Lisbon subject to inducement on the northbound leg.

The REX Service will be operated by 6 vessels in a weekly frequency through to the end of August and Safmarine’s South Africa-Europe trade manager, Ian Fairlie points out the 2011 REX service will offer increased capacity compared to previous years saying:

“Plug capacity on the six vessels which will be deployed on the 2011 REX Service has been adjusted in line with the anticipated increased seasonal demand. The increase in the number of plugs is particularly good news for South African exporters and European importers of Cape citrus and pomme fruit, who will also benefit from the two sailings per week frequency and the REX’s direct link between the Cape ports and Tilbury/Rotterdam.”

Despite the service being specifically aimed at the plethora of temperature controlled cargo there will also be spaces for ambient dry cargo made available. Safmarine, now into its fourth decade handling the South African fruit trade, says its 2011 reefer volumes to date have been up on the 2010 volumes for the same period and all indications are that this will be a good season for the South African fruit export industry.

Fairlie concluded that the investment made by Safmarine and the other Southern Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS) member lines (Maersk Line, Deutsche Afrika Linien (DAL) and MOL) in the REX service is proof that they have a long-term commitment to supporting South Africa's fruit export industry.

Photo: S Safmarine’s Ian Fairlie