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Exporters hampered by container shortage as orders pour in
NationalJan 16. 2021
By THE NATION
The global Covid-19 situation has driven up demand for canned food and tuna, but deliveries by Thai exporters are affected by a shortage of containers, industry experts said.
Chanin Chalisaraphong, president of Thai Tuna Industry Association said that Thai export of tuna in 2020 is expected to net Bt80 billion, increasing from Bt77 billion in 2019.
“This year we estimate that tuna exports will expand by at least 5 per cent, as orders are now pouring in for delivery within the first quarter of 2021,” he said. “The biggest problem exporters are facing right now is inadequate supply of containers, as over a thousand containers are still stuck in the United States and Europe due to Covid-19 restrictions. Containers that came back on time are being sent to China.
“The association is urging the ministries of Commerce and Transport to coordinate with foreign authorities to send back our containers as soon as possible,” he added.
Meanwhile, Korakot Kittiphol, deputy director of foreign markets at Thai Hua Rubber Pcl, has added that since December the company has received increasing orders from China who require rubber for manufacturing tyres and rubber gloves.
“We must deliver the rubber within the next few months but currently we do not have enough containers,” he said. “Furthermore, the freight fee has increased to the highest in 15 years, from last year’s rate of $20-$50 per 20-foot container to $600-$800 per container.”
Boonchai Srichaiyongpanich, president of the Thai Tapioca Trade Association, has said that China is currently ordering tapioca chips at 300,000 tonnes per month, compared to 80,000-90,000 tonnes per month during the same period in 2020. “China switched to using tapioca chip as the main ingredient in alcohol manufacturing after local corn price rose sharply,” he said. “We expect that total export of tapioca this year will reach 4-5 million tonnes, increasing from last year’s total of only 3 million tonnes.”
Not all exports enjoy higher orders, however. The honorary president of Thai Rice Exporters Association, Chukiat Opaswong, has said the orders for delivery in first quarter of 2021 are still at the same level as last year. “This is due to the strengthening of the baht that has made Thai rice more expensive than competitors,” he said. “We estimate that total rice exports this year will be 6.5 million tonnes, increasing from last year’s total of 5.8 million tonnes, which was the lowest in the past 20 years.”