Overloaded by traffic, Vietnamese province near Chinese border suspends frozen seafood transport
Officials in Quang Ninh Province in northern Vietnam have announced the province is temporarily banning vehicles carrying frozen seafood, fresh fruits, and other goods to its border area with China. The suspension took effect Monday, 17 January, and will last through the end of China’s Lunar New Year holiday, which runs from 31 January through 6 February, 2022.
Quang Ninh has not been able to handle the quagmire of thousands of container trucks carrying goods currently waiting at Vietnam’s border areas with China, and the coming of the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday is worsening matters, the officials said.
In late December 2021, more than 1,500 frozen seafood containers were stranded at Mong Cai in Quang Ninh after China intensified inspections of imported Vietnamese goods with the objective of limiting the spread of the COVID-19.
In a 17 January statement, Quang Ninh’s provincial government said beginning 6 January, Chinese authorities resumed customs clearance for vehicles through China’s Dongxing border gate, which borders Mong Cai gate in Vietnam’s Quang Ninh, following a suspension of customs clearance in December. However, the capacity of customs clearance on the Chinese side is currently limited due to a lack of manpower ahead of the Lunar New Year and the country’s heightened food-inspection regime.
In Lang Son and Lao Cai, two other Vietnamese provinces bordering China, officials have also banned vehicles carrying fresh fruits from its border areas until further notice, though neither province clarified whether trucks carrying frozen seafood cargoes are banned as well.
Vietnam’s sales to China have dropped significantly since April 2021 due to increased testing of frozen seafood cargoes for COVID-19 by Chinese authorities as part of the country’s strategy to implement a “zero-COVID” policy. The enhanced inspections have resulted in the delays of clearance for shipments, adding further costs for both Vietnamese exporters and Chinese importers, according to Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).
Photo courtesy of Loner Nguyen/Shutterstock