Fuel costs, sales declines, and increased competition hinder South African fishing company I&J's profits in 2023

A picture of an abalone, one of I&J's top products.

Cape Town, South Africa-based seafood company Irvin & Johnson (I&J) experienced a challenging back half of 2023, with a dip in fish sales, soaring fuel prices, and intensifying competition in the international seafood market all contributing to the poor performance.

The company said in its FY 2023 results that fuel costs plagued the company, as it heavily engages in fleet management activities. Between 2022 and 2023, the company attempted to improve the fuel efficiency of its fishing fleet through modernizing the fishing gear and sensors it used, enforcing speed limits to and from fishing grounds, and increasing the monitoring of fuel usage. Nevertheless, fuel costs still heavily impacted the company during the period.

The company has also pointed to inefficiencies at South African ports – particularly in Cape Town – including congested roads, long truck queues, and extended shipping times, as additional reasons why 2023 closed poorly.

I&J, which is 75 percent-owned by Johannesburg-based consumer products company AVI Ltd., reported a 17.1 percent decline in fish sales by volume for the six months ending 31 December 2023.

Though I&J posted slightly higher revenue year over year in the period, this gain was offset by ...

Photo courtesy of Abraham Badenhorst/Shutterstock

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