Lanka’s fish exports to have unprecedented future demand | Daily News


 

Freight rates the drawback

Lanka’s fish exports to have unprecedented future demand

Sri Lanka’s fish exports will face an unprecedented global demand, following the world predicted to opt for fish and sea foods over meats following the COVID 19 pandemic outbreak, a frontline fish exporter told Daily News Finance yesterday.

The Chairman of H and M Western Private Ltd Mahendra De Vaz whose company exports around 100 Tonnes of all varieties of edible fish monthly, prior to the outbreak of COVID 19, said that with the outbreak of pandemic, the monthly export volumes had dipped to around 30-40 Tonnes per month.

However, he said that there was unlimited prospects for the exports to increase while there were so many deterrents which were in the way of the development of the industry.

Sri Lanka, on the overall, has over 40 companies which were exporting fresh and frozen fish and some of the varieties that were in hot demand were: Yellow Fin Tuna, Sword Fish, Sea Crabs, Prawns, Fresh Water Fish, Cuttlefish ( Quid), and most varieties of Reef Fish such as Garoupa and others. He said that some of the local companies were exporting over 100 Tonnes a months while some of the smaller companies were exporting a mere 40-50 Tonnes a month.

Some of the export markets that Sri Lanka exports fish and sea food are: USA, UK and the Continent, especially Spain and Italy along with Ukraine.

One of them, he said was the prohibitive freight rates which were levied by airlines such as Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Turkish Airlines and our own Sri Lankan Airlines.

Quoting some examples, he said that prior to the COVID 19, outbreak the freight rates which were US $ 3.50 per kilo of fish to the US, had risen to US$ 7 as of now, Germany from US $ 3.40 per kilo to US $ 4.80 per kilo, UK and Japan from US $ 2.90 per kilo to US $ 4.

He also said that the national carrier should also come to code sharing arrangements with other major airlines such as American Airlines and others so that Sri Lanka’s sea food exports could reach those markets and other new and hitherto unexplored markets as well.

He said that Sri Lanka needed to it develop its technology like Vietnam and Thailand and make it macro scale which will also assist the local fishing industry to add value here itself where they could go into canning as well.

One of the principal deterrents to making the industry big time international is the lack of usage of large scale trawlers like in Thailand and Vietnam where they go into international waters.

There should also be training of quality standards and processing as well, he said.


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