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All action at East London grain terminal

Home Agriculture All action at East London grain terminal

THE East London Port Terminal has resumed the export and import of maize and wheat last month, after nearly two years of the silo facility’s temporary closure due to low volumes.
East London grain volumes started declining from 1 000 000 tons to 48 000 tons per annum in 2021. The grain elevator which is also one of the largest silos in the country, with a capacity of 66 000 tons became financially constrained and temporarily closed until business opportunities opened in the market.

The terminal did however continue to discharge grain using a direct discharge operating model, where cargo is loaded in trucks and taken to an external facility immediately.
“Collaboration between the East London Terminal, local and regional stakeholders as well as industry has been unprecedented and has unlocked further economic opportunities for the Eastern Cape,” said Naliya Stamper, East London Terminal manager when the facility re-opened.

Stamper says that the terminal is currently working on a schedule that sees one vessel handled every six weeks.

“The East London Terminal has a total of nine slots that have been forecasted and shared with the industry for the 2023/2024 financial year beginning next month,” she said.

With regards to the relatively shallow draft on the quayside at the port, Stamper says: “The terminal can load up to 44 000 metric tons with the current sailing draft and volumes handled will inform future discussions and engagements on the way forward.”

On the supply side, chief economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz), Wandile Sihlobo, says that the country is in for another ample grains and oilseeds harvest.
“The data released by the Crop Estimates Committee places South Africa’s 2022/23 summer grains and oilseeds production at 19,6 million tonnes, up 2% from last month’s figure and 5% higher than the previous season,” he said.

“The Crop Estimates Committee’s data provides sufficient comfort that South Africa will have sufficient staple food supplies in the 2023/24 marketing year. The expected improvement in the maize harvest is on the back of better yields, as the area plantings are down marginally from the 2021/22 season,” Sihlobo added.

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