SalmonChile suspending shipments to China in response to coronavirus outbreak

Chile’s salmon trade group SalmonChile is the latest entity to interrupt business with China in response to the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

“In the last two weeks, all salmon shipments to China have been suspended and will continue in this way until the health emergency is controlled,” the trade organization announced in a statement. “This measure is not directly related to the [risk of] infections, but because demand has decreased to a minimum” in response to Chinese authorities’ recommendations to avoid crowds, affecting business at restaurants and large supermarket chains.

On a worldwide weighting, Chilean salmon exports to China represented only about 5 percent of the total in 2019, the trade organization noted. As such, work is being carried out to redirect China shipments to other countries and regions such as Brazil, the U.S., and Southeast Asia, which are some of Chile’s main salmon destination markets.

SalmonChile said it will constantly monitor the situation “and we hope that shipments can be reactivated as soon as possible, because the demand for Chilean salmon from [China] has been growing over the years.” Effects on the local economy due to interrupted shipments from the coronavirus outbreak are to be evaluated in the next few weeks.

The trade group represents Chile’s largest salmon farmers – including Australis, AquaChile, Blumar, Camanchaca, Cermaq, Cooke, Marine Farm, Multiexport Foods, Salmones Austral, Ventisqueros, and Yadran – as well as salmon industry suppliers, smolt producers, laboratories, and feed manufacturers.

Sector observers have warned that the outbreak may have a drastic impact on China’s seafood industry, with companies both shipping to and buying from China possibly declaring “force majeure”  in backing out of orders and payments.

A number of major airlines have canceled flights to China amid the coronavirus outbreak, while the epidemic has also started to hit trading of crab from the Indian state of Kerala and pangasius and shrimp from Vietnam.

Photo courtesy of gg-foto/Shutterstock


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