Despite port delays, South African fashion retailers increase localproduction.

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In order to lessen the effects of congestion at traditional ports, which has
resulted in significant delays in stock deliveries, South African fashion
retailers are increasing local production and utilizing air freight and
alternative sea ports.
Transnet, a state-owned logistics company, stated in November that
underinvestment in equipment and maintenance was the cause of the
backlogs at the Port of Durban and the congestion at Richards Bay.
Transnet also issued a warning, stating that it could take up to 12 to 18
months to acquire some new equipment.
Fashion retailers in South Africa still heavily depend on imports,
particularly from Asia, despite their efforts to bring production closer to
home. TFG over the past seven years, TFGJ.J, the owner of the Foschini
clothing brand, has outperformed rivals after growing its local factories and
purchasing new ones.

TFG consequently had an adequate supply for the crucial December
holiday season. The company added that it did not expect any major
disruptions to ranges for the upcoming southern hemisphere autumn and
winter months and that it was taking the necessary action, such as
ordering earlier and amending destination ports.
As South Africa’s autumn start in March woolworths  WHLJ.J and
Truworths TRUJ.J are also ramping up local clothes production, using
local suppliers and placing orders earlier, said the executives.
Woolworths is placing smaller orders, more frequently, to avoid having big
shipments stuck at the harbour, CEO Roy Bagattini said.
It is also directing ships to ports with fewer backlogs, such as Walvis Bay
in Namibia, and then trucking the products to Cape Town, Bagattini
“Sometimes we look to air freight depending on the product and category.
We fly stuff in, obviously it is costly and is not sustainable,” he said, adding
Woolworths would not rely on this heavily to avoid higher expenses.

For the autumn and winter seasons, Woolworths is in a much better shape
in terms of stock but not at 100% levels yet, Bagattini said, while
Truworths cautioned there may be some stock shortages in autumn.
Truworths said its mitigation strategy also included sourcing from different
countries. It’s not just fashion retailers grappling with the problem. South
African food services firm Bid Corporation BIDJ.J said last week it was
holding buffer stocks to mitigate the impact.

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