- Coffee and rice exports in January decreased by more than 40% in volume, and by 43% and 38% in value, respectively, compared to the same period of 2020
- Fruit and vegetable exports were 33% lower in value from the same period of last year
- Other farming products, including tea, pepper and seafood, also saw double-digit dips in exports
- The reduction in exports was mainly due to a severe shortage of empty containers, which caused shipping costs to escalate
Vietnamese exports of many agricultural products continued to decline sharply in January due to a shortage of empty containers, according to statistics from the General Department of Customs.
In the first half of January, Vietnam’s coffee exports decreased by 46% in volume to 52,000 tonnes and nearly 43% in value to US$95 million compared to the same period of 2020.
Rice exports also fell sharply by 44% in volume to 131,000 tonnes and 38% in value to US$72 million.
Fruit and vegetable exports reached $130 million, 33% lower than the same period of last year.
The general department said some other farming products also saw a strong reduction in export value during that period, including tea (22% to $6.6 million), pepper (10% to $21 million) and seafood (14% to $278 million).
The reduction in exports of these key agricultural products in January was mainly due to a severe shortage of empty containers, which caused shipping costs to escalate.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, in January, seafood freight to Europe continued to increase strongly by between 145% to 276%, depending on the port.
Specifically, this freight at the main ports surged by 145% to $7,000 per container in January 2021 from $2,850 in December 2020.
The same situation happened at US ports. The freight in January increased by 14% to $4,000 per container for shipping goods to the West Coast and by 14% to 19 % to $5,600 to $5,850 per container to the East Coast.
It also increased from $50 to $100 per container to Japan’s ports.
Do Ha Nam, vice chairman of the Vietnam Cocoa and Coffee Association, said the shortage of empty containers to transport coffee has led to stagnant exports at many countries and lower supply in consumption markets.
The Vietnam Pepper Association’s survey in January 2021 for some pepper agents and cooperatives in Dong Nai province showed that pepper inventory was still large, excluding the volume that had been sold but not yet shipped. That was due to high freight and the shortage of empty containers.
Photo by Popo le Chien