The international sanctions against Russia and fewer flights to the country have severely affected Thai export of fresh vegetables and fruit to Russia, Thailand’s commerce envoy in Moscow said.
Kittinan Yingcharoen, the director of the International Trade Promotion Office in Moscow, said imports of vegetables and fruit from Thailand were affected after Aeroflot and other Russian airlines, including S7 Airlines, Ural Airlines and other freighter airlines, stopped their services since March 8 because of the international sanctions.
He explained that the sanctions following Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine had prompted plane lease companies in western countries to cancel their contracts with Russian airlines. Most planes operated by Russian airlines were leased from these companies.
Moreover, Boeing and Airbus have halted their technical support for Russian airlines’ planes and stopped selling parts to the carriers. The measures forced the airlines to halt their services because they could not buy the required spare parts.
“These measures had severely affected the export of fresh vegetables and fruit to Russia because these products rot easily. They need to be shipped on direct flights from Thailand to Russia to save shipping time,” Kittinan said.
He said only airlines of a few nonpartisan nations are still flying to Russia, including Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airlines and Ethihad Airlines. But these airlines have to make transit flights to their country, where temperatures are high and the fresh vegetables and fruit could be damaged by the heat.
Kittinan said his office has surveyed the importers of Thai vegetables and fruit in Russia and found that they had to suspend their businesses because of several negative factors, including a 50 per cent ruble depreciation against the US dollar, 10 per cent inflation and difficulty in making money transfers.
He added that some importers were now testing the use of services of Middle East airlines although the shipping cost was higher and some 15 per cent of the products could rot.
According to the commerce ministry, the value of Russia’s import of fruit from Thailand in 2021 was $5.9 million and the import value of fresh and frozen vegetables was $2.83 million.
Kittinan advised Thai exporters to decline orders from Russia for fruit and vegetables until direct flights between Thailand Russia have resumed.
THE NATION (THAILAND)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK