Durian imports hit a new high in 2021, and the epidemic situation has become the biggest variable in the future

From 2010 to 2019, China’s durian consumption has maintained rapid growth, with an average annual growth rate of more than 16%. According to the customs data, from January to November 2021, China’s import of durian reached 809200 tons, with an import amount of US $4.132 billion. The highest import volume in the whole year in history was 604500 tons in 2019 and the highest import amount was US $2.305 billion in 2020. The import volume and import amount in the first 11 months of this year have reached a record high.
The domestic durian import source is single and the market demand is huge. From January to November 2021, China imported 809126.5 tons of durian from Thailand, with an import amount of USD 4132.077 million, accounting for 99.99% of the total import. In recent years, strong domestic market demand and increased transportation costs have led to the rise in the price of imported durian. In 2020, the average import price of fresh durian in China will reach US $4.0/kg, and in 2021, the price will rise again, reaching US $5.11/kg. Under the circumstances of transportation and customs clearance difficulties caused by the epidemic and the delay in large-scale commercialization of domestic durian, the price of imported durian will continue to rise in the future. From January to November 2021, the imports of durian from various provinces and cities in China are mainly concentrated in Guangdong Province, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Chongqing. The import quantities are 233354.9 tons, 218127.0 tons and 124776.6 tons respectively, and the import amount is 109663300 US dollars, 1228180000 US dollars and 597091000 US dollars respectively
The export volume of Thai durian ranks first in the world. In 2020, the export volume of Thai durian reached 621000 tons, an increase of 135000 tons compared with 2019, of which exports to China accounted for 93%. Driven by the strong demand of China’s durian market, 2021 is also the “golden year” of Thailand’s durian sales. The quantity and amount of Thailand’s durian exports to China have reached a record high. In 2020, the output of durian in Thailand will be 1108700 tons, and the annual output is expected to reach 1288600 tons in 2021. At present, there are more than 20 common durian varieties in Thailand, but there are mainly three durian varieties exported to China – Gold pillow, chenni and long handle, of which the export volume of gold pillow durian accounts for nearly 90%.
Repeated COVID-19 led to difficulties in customs clearance and transportation, which will become the biggest variable for Thailand durian to lose to China in 2022. Thailand’s China Daily reported that 11 relevant trade chambers in eastern Thailand are worried that if the problem of customs clearance at Chinese ports cannot be effectively solved in the next two months, durian in the East will suffer serious economic losses. Durian in eastern Thailand will be listed successively from February 2022 and enter the high production period from March to April. The total output of durian is expected to be 720000 tons, compared with 550000 tons in Sanfu in eastern Thailand last year. At present, a large number of containers are still overstocked at many ports in Guangxi, China. The Pingxiang railway port temporarily opened on January 4 has only 150 containers per day. In the trial operation stage of Mohan port’s opening of Thai fruit customs clearance, it can only pass less than 10 cabinets per day.
11 chambers of Commerce in Thailand have discussed and formulated five solutions, hoping to fundamentally solve the difficulty of Thai fruit export to China. The specific measures are as follows:
1. The orchard and sorting and packaging plant shall do a good job in the epidemic prevention and protection of Xinguan, while the research institute shall speed up the research and development of new antivirus agents to meet the inspection and quarantine requirements of China, and report to the government for consultation with China.
2. Accelerate the solution of the connection problems existing in the current cross-border logistics transportation, especially the relevant contents of the new crown security agreement, and uniformly implement the standards. The other is to restart the green channel of fruits and vegetables between China and Thailand to ensure that Thai fruits can be exported to mainland China in the shortest time.
3. Expand emerging export target markets outside China. At present, Thailand’s fruit exports are extremely dependent on the Chinese market, and opening up new markets can alleviate the risk of a single market.
4. Make emergency preparations for excess production. If the export is blocked, it will increase the pressure on domestic consumption and lead to a decline in prices. The export of longan in the fourth quarter of last year is the most striking example.
5. Launch the Dalat fruit export sea terminal project. Bypassing third countries and exporting directly to China can not only reduce costs, but also increase flexibility. At present, the optional channels for the export of Thai durian to China include sea transportation, land transportation and air transportation, of which land transportation accounts for the largest proportion. The most important problem is that the air transportation is efficient but the cost is high. More suitable for niche boutique routes, mass goods can only rely on land.

Post time: Jan-18-2022