As arrivals of Southern African grapes in Europe and the UK increase, there are expectations that the current strong market will continue into the new year
Namibian sources have said they are on course to reach 9.2m cartons of table grape exports this season, with increasing volumes of the fruit due to arrive in the market this week.
Exports from South Africa’s northern and Orange River regions are also well on track with greater supplies due to arrive soon.
Increased shipments through Namibia’s port of Walvis Bay, for both Namibian and South African exports, have boosted volumes for the pre-Christmas market.
Leading UK importer Poupart said there was currently a strong demand, with events around the world contributing to an undersupplied market.
“We all know that reduced production in the US has contributed to short supply there and that Peru has also had some setbacks,” said Jonathan Olins, managing director at Poupart.
“This is likely to bring changes to supply patterns, with increased volumes from Peru now shipped to the United States,” he continued.
“Climate conditions in Peru’s northern region have brought some disruption, but growers in the southern region are due to ship earlier than last year to the UK and Europe.
“I would say that prices will remain strong up to Christmas but will come down in the New Year because of extra supplies from South Africa and Namibia,” he noted.
Poupart Imports have secured consistent supply and will be able to meet demand in the pre-Christmas period, Olins confirmed.
The Namibian Table Grape Industry said in a statement that marketing conditions seem favourable, with the prospect of a stable run-up to Christmas.
“It is too early to make any predictions since a good season is determined by so many factors, and we’re fairly conservative in how we approach the season,” the association commented. “The timing of crops is the same as last year and the quality overall is good, with good berry size.
“In general, the global demand for table grapes is higher than the available global production,” it stated. “Namibia has once again shown that we deliver the best quality and play a vital role in the global supply.”
Growers in Namibia only need support from the country’s government to secure new marketing access, the association said.
“If this can be achieved, the Namibian table grape industry can start favourable trade agreements with more countries and grow the industry.”
The port of Cape Town is still the primary port used for shipping, the association noted.
“So far for the season it has been operating well with no delays that had an impact on the economy,” the statement continued. ”One of our major suppliers, Capespan Namibia, has shipped 174 containers through the Walvis bay harbour.
”This option is on the table for producers, but it is still costly, and more planning and discussions must take place before this can be a primary shipping point.”
Southern African logistics operator, GoGlobal, also confirmed recently that it had routed some containers through Walvis Bay in association with MSC, which now calls at Ngqura terminal in the Eastern Cape and Walvis Bay to avoid delays in Cape Town.