Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

SA’s bulk export volumes plunged by 27.4% year on year in April to 12.3-million tonnes after soaring 27.4% in March to 14.1-million tonnes, says Transnet National Ports Authority.

These massive swings are, in part, due to an enhanced "Easter effect" as the holidays fell in March in 2016 but in April in 2017. This boosted the year-on-year comparison for March and reduced it for April.

In March, bulk exports out of Saldanha — mostly iron ore — almost doubled (up 95.3%) to 5.8-million tonnes, though this was followed by a 34.75% drop to 4.2-million tonnes in April.

Bulk exports out of Richards Bay — mostly coal — rose only 1.1% year on year in March to 7.3-million tonnes, but fell by 22.2% in April to 6.7-million tonnes.

The exception to the April slump was bulk exports from other ports, which ship agricultural goods, such as grain and sugar. These rose 17.3% in April to 1.3-million tonnes.

In the first quarter of 2017, bulk export volumes grew 11.7% year on year, but the plunge in April reduced the year-to-date increase to only 0.9% year on year. The record annual increase in this century was 9% set in 2010.

© Business Day

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