With more dockworkers and others critical to China/Hong Kong's food distribution chain now returning from an extended Lunar New Year holiday break, Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, looks for a growing backlog of imported meat to begin making its way more smoothly into the market, according to a federation release.
Haggard notes that China's meat and poultry imports were record-large in December and remained high in early January prior to the holiday break. This created a major challenge for ports and other distribution channels that were already short-staffed due to the holidays, and the situation was further complicated by the coronavirus outbreak, the release says. On the demand side, Haggard says restaurant traffic has been hit hard by coronavirus concerns, but supermarkets in most areas remain busy and well-stocked. He adds that while African swine fever (ASF) is currently receiving little media attention in the region, China still faces a large ASF-induced pork shortage that is likely to keep demand for imported protein at a very high level.
Hear more in the audio clip below.