Trade with China is beginning to pick up again, in particular for the agricultural sector but others are showing signs of renewed life.
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GETTY IMAGES Stock movements through China ports slowed in February and March (File photo).

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise international lead on the coronavirus, Fiona Acheson said business operations on the ground in China were at about 60 per cent to 80 per cent and rising.

Air and sea ports were open but there would still be operational delays affecting trade with China, due to ongoing staff shortages, Acheson said.

“There is significant disruption to air freight as a result of the reductions and cancellations in flights to and from China. Container movement remains constrained,” she said.

Retail was beginning to return to normal with supermarkets mostly open and well stocked, with the picture varying in the food service sector.

Food and beverage suppliers were beginning to see orders come in, she said.

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell said at a media briefing this week that the food service sector in China was nearly back to normal, with 90 per cent of Starbucks and McDonalds open across the country.

“It’s really pleasing to see signs of life out of that food service business.”

Stock movements through China ports slowed in in February and March, he said.

“But we’re seeing and hearing reports of certainly medical supplies and food as getting a better run through the ports. And while we’ve seen some slowdown it’s not impacting our business at this point in time,” he said.

Meat company Silver Fern Farms told farmers on Tuesday that as China recovered from the Covid-19 coronavirus, it had been able to “quickly turn China production back on”.

During the slowdown meant was sent to other markets and farmers continued to get paid, and at levels above the five-year average across all stock types.

No orders were cancelled or any payment defaults from Chinese customers, the company said.

“We have shipped product in-line with what we have produced through the peak which relieved the significant early stress on cold-storage. Over 5000 containers have been shipped through this period.”

Kotahi Logistics, a partnership between Silver Fern Farms, Fonterra, Maersk Line Shipping and Port of Tauranga, had kept products moving into other markets and secured shipping space when trade with China slowed.

Despite Covid-19, Silver Fern Farms had increased productionto process stock through the drought.

Waiting times at the freezing works were now less than a week in most regions, the company said.

However, Silver Fern Farms predicted processing would slow down as the Government put precautionary measures in place to combat the coronavirus.

The shortage of containers continue, the company said.

Employers and Manufacturers Association head of advocacy and strategy Alan McDonald said trade in manufacturing components was also beginning to move again, which was encouraging, but was not yet at full capacity.

It’s been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic caused milk prices to plummet…

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