AS China’s coronavirus cases resurge in the recent months, Mon State’s frozen fish export which solely relied on the China market is sluggish, according to the Mawlamyine Commodity Centre.
“Fish produced in Mon State is highly consumed in China. Small size Hilsa and mackerel fish can be exported to Malaysia. However, the export volume to Malaysia is pretty low as they purchase only one container load of fish once in three months. Normally, Myanmar ships about 3-4 containers of fish to China every month. China’s market constitutes over 90 per cent of Mon State’s fish export,” an exporter elaborated.
China is stepping up virus rules and regulations on freight and it disrupted the supply chain.
China has banned cross-border trade through some border posts between Myanmar and China since October 2020. The frozen fish is shipped under a cold chain via a sea trade. The traders from both Myanmar and China do not dare to take a risk during the lockdown period and strict virus policy.
The traders are facing barriers such as an increase in transportation costs and trade impediments due to the heightened coronavirus measures.
“Some traders shipped frozen fish in the pre-Thingyan period. Yet, I don’t think they have been placed in the market. They still cannot be withdrawn from the containers or they might be in cold storages at the moment,” said an exporter.
Mon State’s fish export sector has collapsed since the coronavirus outbreak in 2020. The export market is hard to raise its head again.
At present, mainland China is battling the lockdown. It is about two months since the markets were suspended and the trade will slow down more than expected, according to the National Enlightenment Institute.
Approximately 180 metric tons of fish are sent to foreign markets every year. China accounts for 90 per cent of Mon State’s fish exports.
The exports of frozen fish from Mon State have been dropping for two consecutive years, resulting in the stockpile of frozen fish in cold storage in Mon State.
“We have sufficient inventory of fish in cold storage as export is slow-moving and China’s demand falls,” said a cold storage operator. There are 14 fishing blocks in Mon State. Over 1,500 inshore and offshore fishing vessels are engaged in the fishing industry.
Inshore and offshore fishing businesses are thriving in Mon State as it has coastal areas. The fishing business plays a role that drives the economic growth in Mon State, the Mawlamyine Commodity Centre stated. — GNLM