Norway sees rising salmon exports to China as demand recovers
Published: Apr 16, 2020 08:48 PM

A KLM cargo flight at Shanghai Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Norway's government and seafood industry are finding solutions and overcoming hurdles to ensure a smooth logistics chain for export markets including China, with demand in the world's largest seafood consumer market recovering as the coronavirus gradually comes under control.

Demand for salmon has been reviving, especially from supermarkets, Chinese seafood firm Agri-Joyvio said in a statement it sent to the Global Times, but a recovery in demand from restaurants has yet to emerge.

There has been steady growth in salmon exports from Norway to China this year, from 10 tons in the fifth week to 572 in the 14th week, which surpassed the same week last year, the Norwegian Seafood Council said in a statement sent to the Global Times.

"This is an encouraging signal to the Norwegian seafood industry and our value chain partners working in the China market," the council said.

Though the logistics are challenging amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Norwegian government and the nation's seafood industry are working closely to produce effective plans to meet the challenges. For overseas markets, alternative air freight routes are being established as passenger flights have been suspended, said the council.

The seafood council said that producers and their local partners are finding solutions and overcoming hurdles to deliver nutritious and top-quality seafood to markets across the world, including China.

Industry insiders noted that salmon from Norway currently enjoys a price advantage over fish from other countries such as Chile in the Chinese market. Due to the severe pandemic in Europe, which has led to a sharp decline in catering demand, many Norwegian chilled salmon were shipped to the Chinese market, resulting in a sharp price decline. 

Salmon from Norway now has an "overwhelming" advantage in the  Chinese market - 80 percent of current demand goes to Norwegian salmon, while Chilean salmon accounts for only about 5 percent, according to Agri-Joyvio.

"We mainly imported salmon from Chile previously, but we started to import Norwegian salmon due to its price advantage," it said. 

The Seafood Council said it has also seen increasing demand for frozen seafood coming from China.

Despite the short-term pressure from the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese market is making a gradual recovery. "As the market resumes, we certainly remain confident about the China market outlook and potential," the council said.

The Chinese seafood market is the world's largest by volume and value and is growing steadily. In 2019, China was the largest growth market for Norwegian seafood, and Norway exported 168,503 tons of seafood to China, a 13-percent increase.

Given the recovering demand as well as the enormous need for rapid transportation of medical equipment and other supplies, more countries and airlines are expanding cargo transport in and out of China. 

For example, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines said in a statement sent to the Global Times that it is working with Royal Philips and the Dutch government to create a special cargo air bridge between the Netherlands and China. 

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