With Covid uncertainty hitting China, Indian seafood shippers turn to Thailand and Vietnam


Covid-related uncertainties in China appear to have prompted Indian seafood exporters to focus on Thailand and Vietnam, which were once major export destinations.

China is the second largest market, after the United States, for Indian seafood shipments, importing 2,61,491 tonnes worth ₹8,551 crore in FY22. Thailand and the Vietnam imported seafood products worth ₹2,000 crore and ₹2,237 crore respectively during the period.

Blocked shipments

The unpredictability of the Chinese market, especially in the cities of Shanghai, Ningbo and Nanjing in the western part, following a strict Covid-induced lockdown, has affected the supply chain. There are concerns about earlier dispatched shipments being held up in ports for more than 30 days, said Alex K Ninan, Chairman of Seafood Exporters Association of India – Kerala Region.

Shipments have been delayed and reefer containers are unavailable as they are blocked at various Chinese ports. The likely cancellation of future orders will hit many companies already battling a slowdown in multiple markets, he said.

Exports of marine products to China have previously been rejected due to the alleged presence of Covid nucleic material in cartons and containers.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has started buying Indian seafood on a limited scale, mainly for value-added purposes. “We have no choice but to push the products to other markets where the prices are comparatively lower,” Ninan said. Activity area. Thailand had banned Indian seafood after the detection of the IMNV virus a few years ago; his authorities have agreed to reconsider the decision and talks are ongoing, he said.

Eyeing the Gulf markets

“We are also looking at Gulf markets as the Indo-UAE trade deal will boost marine product exports,” Ninan said, adding that the US market slowdown was another cause for concern.

Shaji Baby John of Kings Infra Venture said the focus on adding value by Indian companies has reduced reliance on Chinese markets. When asked if rising inflation would affect global seafood demand, he said it was unlikely, mainly due to expanding markets and stable product prices. sailors in recent years. Moreover, seafood has become an essential food in overseas destinations, he said.

Official sources said Indian seafood shipments are finding markets in China through Vietnam’s Haiphong port on the Chinese border. The closure of the port had allowed Indian seafood exporters to do business directly with China.

Meanwhile, international shipping lines have highlighted pandemic-related supply chain disruptions in Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Ningbo and Nanjing. Warehouses are running out of space and ships have been delayed for five to 10 days.

Published on

May 18, 2022


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