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SA export wine sitting in harbour for over a month due to covid-19 shutdowns

23 June 2020 6:36 AM
Tags:
Wine
SA wine exports
COVID-19

Approximately 50% of all South African produced wine is exported says Wosa's Maryna Callow and it's important to maintain sales.

Although wine exports were given the green light to resume from May 1st, priority has been given to perishables due to the limited operating capacity at our ports, and as a result, the wine shipments are being held back.

This is proving to be a setback for South Africa's wine exporters who might be losing ground to international competitors.

Refilwe Moloto speaks to Maryna Calow, Spokesperson for Wines of South Africa (Wosa).

Calow agrees it is not as simple as just turning the machines back on after the long delay.

These things take time to get really get going.

Maryna Calow, Spokesperson - Wines of South Africa (Wosa)

We were really delighted to hear just before the end of April that exports could resume again on the 1st of May and the wheels started turning again in terms of manufacturing and getting the logistics process back on the road.

Maryna Calow, Spokesperson - Wines of South Africa (Wosa)

She says therefore export figures for May were not as high as they would normally have been.

But once the ball got rolling everyone was really happy, except sadly we began to see there were some major issues a the Cape Town port terminal.

Maryna Calow, Spokesperson - Wines of South Africa (Wosa)

Calow says it was functioning at 50% at best and on a bad day at 25%. St other times, she says the port cited Force Majeure and was completely closed.

Then when container goods were coming in they would give preference to perishable goods - which is quite understandable, but it has seen a number of our producers having wine sitting at the harbour for over a month.

Maryna Calow, Spokesperson - Wines of South Africa (Wosa)

Approximately 50% of all South African produced wine is exported.

She says wine sales are very competitive worldwide.

Our main concern during the lockdown period when exports were banned was the loss of listings in our international retail space. Fortunately, we made a fair bit of noise in the media, and importers and retailers in these key international markets were fairly sympathetic.

Maryna Calow, Spokesperson - Wines of South Africa (Wosa)

But she says now the problem at the ports means the stock is not reaching the retailers in time.

In addition, the European situation saw wine sales drop fairly substantially.

What we are likely to see is that there will be a glut of wine in the coming months which will of course force prices down quite significantly.

Maryna Calow, Spokesperson - Wines of South Africa (Wosa)

Calow says they have been working extensively with government as an industry and have made great strides.

She acknowledges the issue at the port is Covid-related with the addition of winter stormy weather which means container ships have to bypass Cape Town harbour.

These are really not government issues, but rather Covid issues where port workers get ill and it is all a knock-on of the bigger picture.

Maryna Calow, Spokesperson - Wines of South Africa (Wosa)

Listen to the interview below:


23 June 2020 6:36 AM
Tags:
Wine
SA wine exports
COVID-19

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