SIAL Shanghai postponed as logistical challenges squeeze China’s seafood trade
Shanghai’s ongoing COVID-19 lockdown has forced the postponement of one of China’s biggest seafood marketing trade shows, SIAL Shanghai, a business-to-business food and beverage fair usually held in May.
“The lockdown has definitely impacted things,” Robin Wang, the CEO of SMH International, a Shanghai-based marketing agency with numerous international seafood clients, said.
Wang said SIAL is a key annual event for his firm given its marketing and networking opportunities.
“Local events and gatherings have been postponed or will move into the online space,” Wang said.
Wang told SeafoodSource Shanghai’s port remains operational “but with limited manpower and increased inspection of food products, seafood, meats, fruits, and more.”
“This is affecting supplies,” he said. “Seafood products are not leaving Shanghai easily. All Shanghai vehicles transporting goods have also been restricted from entering other regions as well. So there have been definitely been some disruptions to supply which will probably become more evident over time. Many clients have been looking to avoid Shanghai and are trying to reroute shipments.”
There has so far been no official word as to when the lockdown will end for Shanghai, according to Wang. The Chinese government has instituted tighter controls on travel across several parts of the country as a wave of the omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread, with 27,000 reported cases as of 7 April.
China remains wary of loosening its “zero-COVID” approach due to fears of overwhelming its medical services infrastructure amid pervasive low vaccination rates among its elderly.