Kenyan Farmers Face Export Delays Due To Shipping Route Disruptions

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News in Brief:
– Kenyan farmers exporting perishable goods like avocados face delays due to a shortage of refrigerated containers at key ports.
– The conflict-induced rerouting of ships around the Suez Canal has extended travel times, prompting exporters to postpone harvests.

Kenyan farmers, particularly those specialising in tea, coffee, avocados, and other fresh produce, are encountering export challenges due to disruptions caused by the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine.

These conflicts have resulted in a shortage of refrigerated containers (reefers) and standard containers at the Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports, a report said. The situation is further strained by shipping delays due to rerouting of vessels around the Suez Canal, a crucial route for East Africa, in response to increased attacks on ships traversing the canal.

Also, major shipping lines Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have diverted their vessels via South Africa, extending travel times by two weeks. This delay significantly impacts Kenya’s current avocado harvest season, which began in February.

Meantime, the Shippers Council of Eastern Africa expressed concern about the lack of reefers, critical for transporting perishable goods like avocados.

Avocado exporters have been forced to postpone harvests or face missed export deadlines due to the lack of available refrigerated containers. Maersk, a major player in Kenyan fresh produce exports, confirmed these delays and advised clients to verify container availability before booking shipments or harvesting for March departures.

The disruptions highlight the ripple effects of global conflicts, impacting Kenyan farmers’ ability to export their produce and potentially leading to financial losses.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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