China’s Zero-COVID policy hits Chilean fruit exports
Sanitary measures by Chinese health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19, which include port closures, are taking a toll on Chile’s fruit exports, it was reported Sunday.
Chilean exporters, particularly of fruit, are forecasting the current will be the most difficult season in the last three decades, according to Biobio Chile.
About three weeks ago China increased its restrictions due to an outbreak of COVID-19. Strict containment led to port closures and increased pressure on export supply chains.
Chile places a high percentage of its wine and liquor output in China, which will now not be buying it as expected.
Chilean Wine Association President Aurelio Montes said these measures against the coronavirus have strongly affected the sector; however, they have been able to continue exporting, albeit with greater delays in a scenario far from encouraging for the fruit industry, since the waiting times are detrimental to fresh productions.
Biobio Chile also explained that a shipment to China takes 30 days to arrive plus 48 hours to unload. But now it is taking 2 months at sea and much more than 2 days to disembark, which directly affects the quality of the fruit.
Former Agriculture Minister Antonio Walker explained the current situation affected exports in two ways: First, the lowering of the price of the fruit due to its lessened quality and second, an increase in the price of sea freight, which is 3 times above previous years.
National Federation of Fruit Producers President Jorge Valenzuela also pointed out this situation affected employment. The most affected products are cherries, table grapes, apples, peaches, and plums, it was also reported.
(Source: Biobio Chile)