This after Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel designated the industry as an essential service during lockdown, which allowed it to operate fully. This enabled the industry to withstand the anticipated negative impact of COVID-19.
As part of the country’s essential services and adhering to the strictest measures against the coronavirus during lockdown, SAST achieved an unprecedented export feat – this division of the South African Sugar Association loaded 50 925 tons of sugar onto a vessel headed for China – this is the largest tonnage ever in the history of SAST. With this mammoth accomplishment, South Africa now is on par with the likes of Brazilian exporters, that routinely load vessels in excess of 50 000 tons. Brazil is the world’s second biggest sugar producer, after India.
The industry is grateful to Minister Patel for allowing it to operate during Stage 5 lockdown. Intake, storage, handling and shipping services continued uninterrupted, supported by responsible management within the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) system. Significant coordination with TNPA was required to ensure that the vessel was suitable to exit the harbour under load.