THE LAUNCH on 31 March 2005 of the Commercial Cold Storage specialised fruit terminal at Maydon Wharf 7 in Durban was seen by the industry as one of South Africa’s first examples of government’s new ports’ policy to encourage private-public partnerships.

The terminal, which was officially opened by Transnet’s Maria Ramos, is the result of a partnership between South African Port Operations (SAPO) and Oceana Group division Commercial Cold Storage (CCS).

Constructed at a cost of R61.5 million, the facility had 40 forced air cooling chambers with a capacity of 4800 pallets under rapid cooling for steri-citrus and a further 1500 pallets for conventional cooling and storage. By early 2006 capacity had been increased to 50 forced air cooling chambers with a total capacity of 6000 pallet positions and throughput of 1200 pallets per day.

The entire facility has created jobs for about 150 people working two shifts during the citrus season.

Boost for the export market

The Maydon Wharf Steri-Fruit terminal is expected to boost the export market, particularly in the specialised steri-citrus market.

“We are delighted at this partnership with CCS, said Tau Morwe, SAPO chief executive officer. “This terminal is an example of the type of partnership SAPO is pursuing in our vision to be a leading provider of terminal services in port operations.”

Oceana CEO Andrew Marshall believes the development of this facility and its successful commissioning was a positive development for all stakeholders. “For the fruit industry, it adds a sophisticated terminal to secure market position and growth by complying with market requirements for hygiene and food safety,” he said. “China has started importing steri-fruit and other importers are likely to follow.”