China's port congestion eases amid fluctuations in global produce pricing

CHINA PORT

China’s top container ports are loosening the backlog of cargoes on their docks as workers return to their posts, Reuters reports.

This comes after coronavirus travel curbs that kept them away and jammed up global supply chains have been eased. The flu-like epidemic, which originated in the city of Wuhan, an inland logistics hub in Hubei province, has killed more that 2,700 and infected over 78,000 in China alone, and caused massive port congestion due to labor shortages caused by city lockdowns across the country.

China is the largest container cargo handler - processing around 30% of global traffic or around 715,000 containers a day in 2019 - and the virus clampdown impacted supply chains of everything from sneakers and machine parts to technology components and food items.

Fluctuating produce prices due to coronavirus outbreak
The news comes amid "significant" fluctuations in the global pricing of numerous food items due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to South Korea-based market intelligence company Tridge.

Earlier this week Tridge said the biggest wholesale price fluctuations so far include Vietnamese flesh dragon fruit, which is down in price by 85% due to its heavy reliance on the Chinese market and its short shelf life. In addition, it said South African citrus fruit prices are down by 37%. China has gradually become one of the major destinations for South African citrus fruit suppliers, but China’s plans to shut down two-thirds of its economy in order to curb the spread of the virus is already impacting demand for South Africa’s produce. Tridge said.

However, one produce item that has seen an increase in price is Indonesian garlic, the values of which have risen by 24%. Tridge says this is because Indonesia has closed its doors to Chinese good and agricultural products, which is set to heavily impact supply. With the spread of the coronavirus considered a global health emergency, international supply routes have experienced significant disruption, the company said.

Many countries such as Russia, Indonesia and Australia have either closed their borders to China, or implemented policies that temporarily stop the import of food and agricultural commodities.

“We have already started to see significant impact from Coronavirus on various food and agricultural markets, which has caused price fluctuations globally due to sudden imbalances in supply and demand," Hoshik Shin, founder and CEO at Tridge said. “With so many factors impacting the prices of food ingredients, such as climate change and human or animal diseases, both buyers and suppliers need to be constantly vigilant and keep a close eye on the market."
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