Logistics company GoGlobal finds new solutions for South African and Namibian grape growers as problems in Cape Town continue

Walvis Bay Namibia

An early season experiment by South African logistics operator GoGlobal, in association with shipping line MSC, to ship Namibian and South African grapes through the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia has been a success.

Around 70 containers have been loaded in the port and are due to arrive in the UK and Europe next week.

“MCS has agreed to include Walvis Bay in their schedule to replace Cape Town,” said Delena Engelbrecht, CEO of GoGlobal. “With their call at the port of Ngura along the South African Eastern coast, it allows us two opportunities to load on a weekly basis. The first loading at Walvis Bay went extremely well and there were no delays.”

On average last season delays of ten days were experienced in Cape Town. “We simply had to find new solutions to get grapes without delay to the market,” she said

The operation through Walvis Bay was more expensive than getting the grapes to Cape Town for shipment.

“It is around 1,600 kilometres from Aussenkehr in southern Namibia and for exporters from the Orange River it is even further,” Engelbrecht continued. ”It is also costly to transfer containers to the Eastern Cape, but hopefully we will see the results in good arrival condition.”

From southern Namibia and the Orange River, containers are moved by road via Keetmanshoop and Windhoek to the west coast port of Walvis Bay.

“These first operations went off without a hitch and we are all pleased,” she confirmed. ”Naturally, we would want Cape Town Container Terminal to operate properly, to achieve the most cost-effective logistics chain.”

The first specialised reefer vessel of the season, carrying stonefruit and grapes, has also loaded successfully at the FPT berth in Cape Town and has already sailed to Europe.

Regular specialised reefers are expected to sail on a weekly basis from early January, carrying South African stonefruit and grapes.

The industry has been forced into making logistical changes due to ongoing problems at Cape Town’s container terminal, resulting in backlogs and delays.

Shipping lines have increasingly bypassed Cape Town to avoid delays in their schedules.

In trade negotiations between South Africa and Namibia, the two countries’ agricultural ministers decided to step up cooperation, with greater use of Walvis Bay being singled out to service the grape industry specifically.