Seafood export industry facing crisis in Kerala due to shortage of containers

Sanila Arjun

Representational Image| Photo:Mathrubhumi

Kochi: Seafood export industry has been witnessing a crisis due to the scarcity of containers and increase in the rate collected by the ship companies.

Amid the attempts to overcome the financial crisis due to COVID-19, the industry is being challenged with the new issue. "Most of the units and cold storages have already exceeded its storage limit as the export is being interrupted," said Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) Kerala unit president Alex K Nainan.

He noted that at present they need to reduce the production as the storage facilities are almost full. The industry is facing shortage of containers as ships are not allowed to anchor at Colombo port.

Hence, all the containers carrying goods which have already set off from ports are stuck on sea. These containers would be able to return once the Colombo port authority grants permission to land the goods.

Seafood from Kerala is taken to Colombo from Kochi for exporting to the US, Europe and Japan.

Orders get cancelled

Usually, seafood from Kerala gets a huge number of orders from foreign countries ahead of Christmas and New Year sale.

But this year, the orders are being cancelled due to the shortage of containers. SEIA has informed that they are facing huge loss which they are unable to determine at present. Out of the total seafood export, 25 to 35 percent are largely carried out during Christmas and New Year season.

Containers from countries which are importing goods to India are used for exporting goods. Hence, the fall in import and huge demand for containers in China resulted in the shortage of containers in India.

As Chinese firms are ready to purchase containers for huge prices, all empty containers are taken to China.

The exporters suspect that China is creating an artificial shortage of containers to destroy the Indian export industry.

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