China’s shrimp exports tighten in first three quarters

Published on
November 12, 2014

China’s shipments of shrimp continue to tighten in volume and increase in value terms. That’s suggested by data for exports from China’s shrimp capital, Zhanjiang, the southerly port city which is home to shrimp processing giants like Guolian and Zhanjiang Evergreen Aquatic.

Shrimp exports from Zhanjiang totaled USD 530 million (EUR 424.7 million) for the first nine months, up a massive 135 percent year on year in value terms while tilapia shipments rose 26.7 percent to USD 163 million (EUR 130.6 million) in the same period. Shipments of cooked crab from Zhanjiang rose 250 percent year on year. Shrimp account for almost 70 percent of the city’s overall seafood exports, which rose only 2.1 percent in volume terms in the first three quarters to 888,000 metric tons (MT). In value terms overall seafood imports were worth USD 790 million (EUR 633 million), up 15.8 percent year on year. The figures come from customs data published this week in a daily newspaper in the city, which is also home to China’s largest shrimp wholesale market.

The United States continues to be the key market for Zhanjiang, taking 43 percent of volume and 38 percent of the city’s exports in value terms: that’s worth USD 274 million (EUR 219.6 million) on 38,300 MT, up 32 percent and 16.3 percent year on year. Meanwhile, shipments to emerging and Arab markets continue to grow at a very strong pace. Zhanjiang’s shipments to the Middle East (according to the city branch of China’s customs and quarantine agency General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine [AQSIQ]) rose 198 percent to 1,196 MT and 290 percent in value terms to USD 8.7 million (EUR 7 million).

Improved marketing and a renewed emphasis on value-added product is boosting export earnings in Zhanjiang and another of China’s key aquaculture belts. The southerly squid processing hub of Quanzhou (which is also emerging as a seafood canning center) shipped 47,000 MT worth USD 169 million (EUR 135.5 million) in the first three quarters of this year — up 43 percent and 39.5 percent respectively.

The growth was credited to fast-growing consumer markets in nearby Southeast Asia in a statement from the local AQSIQ office which pointed to the strength of shipments to Indonesia and the Philippines which were worth a combined USD 68.6 million (EUR 55 million), up 92.5 percent year on year. Indonesian officials frequently complain in public of the inability of domestic seafood processors to compete with product from China, where scale allows processors to ship goods cheaper.

Quanzhou’s exports to both Vietnam and Africa at USD 16.4 million (EUR 13.1 million) and USD 10.8 million (EUR 8.7 million) while shipments to Korea were up 98 percent year on year. The AQSIQ credited what it terms “high value added” processed and packaged squid products for a growth in exports of squid (9,776 MT at USD 67 million [EUR 53.7 million]). A growing canning sector (1,818 MT at USD 5.2 million [EUR 4.2 million]) has increased almost twofold.

“Better management and traceability systems” in local companies will help drive future earnings growth in the local seafood processing sector, the local AQSIQ office stated in comments this week to Quanzhou WanBao, the local evening newspaper.

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