Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Container shortage, rising shipping costs takes bite out of mango exports

Container shortage, rising shipping costs takes bite out of mango exports

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Kingdom exported 43,680 tonnes of fresh mangoes in January-February. Heng Chivoan

Container shortage, rising shipping costs takes bite out of mango exports

A global shortage of containers and rising shipping rates during the Covid-19 outbreak has driven up production costs for the Kingdom’s mangoes and eroded their competitiveness on the international market, according to two leading producers-cum-exporters.

Heng Sreng, general manager of Boeung Ket Planting and Industrial Co Ltd, told The Post that his company’s production and export of fresh and dried mangoes went smoothly during the hardest phases of the crisis.

“Our mango-export pursuits have been getting on well as usual, but there’ve been interruptions in shipping traffic and a dearth of containers, coupled with persistently rising transportation fees during the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Spiralling shipping costs may have increased the cost of production, but my company’s dehydrated [mango] production line remains fully operational,” Sreng said, adding that the firm exported 20-30 per cent more mangoes in January-February year-on-year.

Hun Lak, CEO of Richfarm Asia Co Ltd, worries that rising inland transportation costs will make it harder for some Cambodian companies to compete as his company prepares to ship the Kingdom’s maiden direct export of fresh mangoes to China soon.

He told The Post: “[Direct] exports of fresh mangoes to China have not yet started – they’re awaiting a final decision from the Chinese side. We currently export small quantities of fresh mangoes to the Chinese market through Vietnam and we’ll ship [directly] to China soon.”

While intra-regional exports in Southeast Asia do not face the same container shortages as those to Europe, Lak voiced concern that the trend would inevitably emerge in the region as well.

“Container shortages don’t pose much of an issue when it comes to exporting fresh mangoes by ship within Asia, it’s just that shipping costs are higher than they once were. Only when shipping to Europe or the US will the scarcity of ships and containers take its toll,” he said.

According to Sreng, Boeung Ket Planting and Industrial exports one container each of fresh and dried mangoes a day to China, weighing an aggregate 26 tonnes.

He said: “We need to buy 150-180 tonnes of fresh mangoes each day from farmers to process. I buy them at 350 riel ($0.09) per kilogramme to process, or 900 riel when they are [export-ready and] packed in paper.”

The Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF) also reported major hindrances to rice exports for the first two months of this year stemming from the container shortages.

According to CRF, the Kingdom exported 76,222 tonnes of milled rice worth $64.53 million during the period, down 44.16 per cent from the same period last year, a drop the federation blamed squarely on the “nearly 500 per cent” jump in shipping costs from 2019 levels.

Cambodia exported a total of 1,599,922.37 tonnes of major non-milled-rice agricultural products in January-February, an increase of 569,493.88 tonnes or 55.27 per cent compared to the same period in 2020, according to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon. Fresh mangoes accounted for 43,680 tonnes.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,