New world class cold storage facility for western cape fresh produce exporters

 14 Oct 2009 03.43pm

Construction of the new, multimillion rand facility commenced in November 2007 and was completed in stages. Final commissioning and testing took place earlier this year.

Addressing customers, official stakeholders and the media at the facility’s unveiling today, Nosipho Damasane, Transnet Port Terminals Chief Operating Officer, said the multi-dimensional repository was Transnet’s solution to the outdated cold stores in the fruit export logistics chain, many of which are being withdrawn from service.

“A world class fruit exporting country such as South Africa requires the services of a world class cold storage resource. The Cape Town MPT Cold Store makes this a reality with its high tech technology and equipment,” she said.

She said the 24-hour facility was situated in the most convenient place in the logistics chain – directly on the quayside – and was therefore in an ideal position to reduce the cost of doing business by shortening the export route and eliminating additional handling.

The cold store is located at the Port of Cape Town’s E–Berth where the draft of approximately 10.4 metres caters for most conventional vessels in operation today.

The operation is under the management of Operations Manager, Beyers Pape, who has intimate knowledge of cold store management and operations, having worked in the fruit export industry for 20 years.

While the high-tech facility was initially introduced as a fruit only storage facility and handled citrus, grapes and small consignments of avocadoes this year, it has since broadened its services to offer storage facilities for all perishable goods.

Hannes Human, Business Unit Executive at Cape Town MPT, said the cold store featured 24 hour monitoring of the entire cold system and tracking of all cargo under the protection of the Paltrack tracking system throughout the export journey.

Continuous quality inspections are carried out by the Perishable Product Export Control Board in order to maintain high quality service standards and compliance with world standards.

The new cold store offers product-specific pre-cooling of conventional palletised cargo to required protocols, containerisation of cargo for the export market and shipping of cargo directly from the cold store into vessels.

It also provides specialised pre-cooling services for fruit sterilisation, which is a requirement by certain world markets such as the Far East and USA.

The cold store’s port-to-road linkages include five loading bays to ensure quick loading and offloading of cargo, with a turnaround cycle of ten containers per hour. The facility’s courtyard, which is situated adjacent to the cold store, is canopied to ensure safe loading and unloading of cargo during inclement weather.

Port-to-rail connectivity includes a rail siding adjacent to the cold store, where palletised fruit is then transferred from or onto internal road transport vehicles for fast delivery in or out of the cold store.

The cold store has three floors, each with cold storage capabilities. The ground floor, which can cater for the handling of 2,229 pallets is for storage only, the 1st floor is for pre-cooling and has a 740 pallet capacity, while the second floor, which can handle 486 pallets, is for pre-cooling and storage.

  Security and Logistics