With India in lockdown, exports are proving to be difficult. But if produce can’t make its way out of the country, it makes sense that importers are facing similar issues, which could cause problem for the food supply.
For NGK Trading Co, the lockdown has meant a complete shutdown of their operation, as goods can no longer be inspected and released. They import several fresh fruits to India, including apples, oranges, pomegranates, cherries and avocados. According to CEO Gagan Khosla, it’s currently impossible to get to their containers at the ports:
“There is a state of paralysis in the imported fruit trade in India. The port is technically operational on paper, but we can’t get our containers out. The police have cordoned off the area and transporters are unwilling to place trucks. On top of that the CHA workers, who are the backbone of the customs clearance process, are not able to get there. Plant quarantine has not appointed anyone to inspect cargo either, without which we can’t release it. The situation is similar in both Nhava Sheva and Chennai ports.”
It isn’t just the ports that are no longer functioning, as India’s food supply has been shut down as well by the lockdown. “On the other side the wholesale markets in most cities are shut. Those that are open are deserted as customers can’t get there. India is 95 per cent wholesale driven and the supply chain is currently broken. There are no street vendors moving any fruit, as they aren’t allowed to operate in most cities. Transport is severally crippled as States have sealed borders and trucks are held up. All in all we’re still in early days, but it is obvious that systems need to be put in place so supplies can resume. Only then can we prevent shortages and trade could move forward once again.” Khosla concludes.