At least 1,000 Indian shrimp containers stranded in Chinese ports

Published on
July 21, 2021
Shipping containers await transport.

Between 1,000 and 1,200 containers of shrimp belonging to at least 50 Indian exporters are currently stuck in Chinese ports.

The containers, which each hold around 16 metric tons (MT) of frozen shrimp, are collectively worth INR 12 billion (USD 160.6 million, EUR 136.3 million), The New Indian Express reported on 21 July.

Half of the 50 exporters are from Andhra Pradesh, the largest shrimp-producing state in India. Their permissions to export to China were suspended after Chinese authorities said traces of COVID-19 were detected on the packaging containing their shrimp.

“It has been nearly two months since our exports have been blocked. They are neither clearing the containers from the ports nor clarifying if we can bring them back,” India Seafood Exporters Association Region President Aluri Indra Kumar said. Kumar said the owners of the containers will suffer heavy losses if the delay in clearance continues.

Kumar said his association has reported the issue to India’s Ministry of Commerce, and that Indian and China officials are in discussions through diplomatic channels to address it.

China is the largest buyer of small-sized shrimp – sized between 60- and 150-count per kilogram – produced in Andhra Pradesh. Many of the companies specializing in that size of shrimp are dependent on Chinese market for survival, Kumar said. Kumar said at least 25 of Andra Pradesh’s 80 seafood exporters are threatened by the detentions.

China has cracked down on seafood imports it claims contain traces of COVID-19, issuing temporary bans on dozens of companies it accuses of shipping seafood with packaging contaminated by coronavirus. Last month,  China’s General Administration of Customs had suspended imports of frozen seafood from six Indian exporters for a week due to alleged detection of the coronavirus on their packaging, India Today reported 11 June.

Between 20 June and 15 July, frozen seafood exporters from India and 10 other Asian countries were also suspended from shipping their containers to Zhanjiang, a port in China’s Guangdong Province, due to loading capacity.

Photo courtesy of ABCDstock/Shutterstock

Reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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