February 14, 2020
US chicken shipments to China disrupted by coronavirus
USA Poultry & Egg Export Council said shipments of United States chicken bound for China have been rerouted to Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam due to the coronavirus, reported Reuters.
Jim Summer, USA Poultry & Egg Export Council president said there is no more space for refrigerated containers at ports in China. Frozen poultry and other meat products need to be plugged into electrical outlets once unloaded in China to keep them cold.
The coronavirus outbreak in China is keeping people at home, delaying product unloading at ports and slower businesses for shops and restaurants.
A Los Angeles port terminal operator manager said due to the lack of power, frozen products and products that need refrigeration are beginning to spoil.
These new issues have cropped up after China pledged to boost its purchases of United States beef and poultry after siging the US-China Phase 1 trade deal.
Summer said freight, port and government officials have allowed shipments of medical supplies and pork, meant to supplement China's reserves, to enter the country. But other items have been prevented from entry.
Tyson Foods said in a statement that it has no redirected its chicken products to alternate destinations. Tyson Foods is currently assessing the coronavirus outbreak and its effect on the company's global business.
Perdue Farms have confirmed there are orders bound for China and is monitoring the Chinese ports situation.
Summer said about 300 to 400 refrigerated containers of poultry have been redirected. Chicken feet accounts for 80% of the shipments, while the rest are chicken meat and turkey products.
In November 2019, China lifted a five-year ban on US poultry imports due to dwindling supplies of domestic caused by the African swine fever outbreak. This opened a new lucrative market for US producers, especially for chicken feet.
Before, US processors sell the chicken feet at 5 cents per pound to rendering plants or pet food companies. It is sold at 90 cents per pound to China.
Summer said the shipment delays will mean companies will incur increasing storage fees.