Fruit exporters hit by rising air freight costs


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A farmer harvests lychees in the northern province of Bac Giang. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

Vietnamese fruit exporters are struggling since air freight costs are surging due to the limited number of flights amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Global Fresh Fruit Company Ltd of Ben Tre Province has seen exports fall by half in the last two months despite high demand from overseas buyers. Its CEO, Phung Van Hien, said logistics companies are demanding two to four times the freight they did at the end of 2019.

Rates for shipping to the Middle East have surged from $1.5-1.8 per kilogram to $6, and freight to Australia has also increased, he said.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, CEO of Vina T&T, one of the largest Vietnamese exporters of fruits to the U.S., told local media the cost of shipping has increased from the regular $3.2. to $5.4. He blamed it on the limited number of international flights yet.

The Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association (Vinafruit) said the pandemic has caused a major challenge to Vietnam’s export of fruits, pointing out that the number of flights to the U.S. and Australia has dropped from 30 per week earlier to 10 now.

Vietnam’s fruit exports this year are down 21 percent to $1.1 billion, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Exporters have been turning to shipment by sea, but this is only suitable for fruits that do not perish soon like coconut, durian and dragon fruit. Fruits such as longan and lychee cannot endure long shipping durations.

Exports of vegetables and fruits were worth $3.7 billion last year, with China being the largest buyer, according to the ministry.


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