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PUBLISHER: Fresh Plaza (

Since the weekend the impact of border closures to Southern African passengers has already had an impact on the fresh cargo sector as outbound planes were full with foreigners hastily leaving OR Tambo International Airport.

Air France flights were cancelled on Saturday, dealing a blow to litchi exports to France, biggest litchi recipient in Europe. Those flights were also taking blueberries and cherries to France.

“We think the closing of the borders to South Africa is an overreaction, as the President [Cyril Ramaphosa] said on TV last night, and it’s a big frustration. We deal with perishable product – it can’t wait. It’s an unknown how much we’ll be able to fly out this week. Our agents have been nonstop busy since the weekend, trying to contact airlines and to confirm flights and destinations. The time zone difference also plays a role and it adds to our nervousness,” says an exporter based at OR Tambo airport.

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