Shanghai lockdown sends chill down meat trade

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BEIJING, May 2 (Reuters) – The protracted lockdown in Shanghai, China’s financial hub, is slowing the nation’s normally booming meat trade, with stringent COVID-19 measures causing logistics logjams across the food industry in a sign of the broadening disruptions to business.

The challenge of moving food in and around Shanghai, whose residents are into a month-long stressful home isolation, highlights similar problems in many other Chinese cities as Beijing persists with its controversial zero-COVID strategy despite growing risks to its economy.

  • China is world’s top meat importer
  • Largest share of meat imports arrive at Shanghai port
  • Product stuck at port with few drivers, trucks to take delivery
  • Buyers across China impacted by strained logistics

China is the world’s biggest buyer of meat, bringing in more than 9 million tonnes last year, worth about $32 billion, and the financial hub with a thriving dining scene accounts for the largest chunk of imports.

Traders rely on Shanghai’s ideal location for distributing product around the country, but since an outbreak of COVID-19 cases forced a lockdown in the city at the end of March, moving chilled or frozen products has become a costly headache.

“Unloading containers is actually ok. The real issue is logistics out of the harbour, getting trucks and drivers to pick up the product,” said Soeren Tinggaard, Vice President at the Pinggu Retail & Foodservice business for pork processor Danish Crown.
By Dominique Patton / Reuters
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