Some 27,000 tonnes of onion have apparently been abandoned at the Chattogram port by importers, as their expected market prices were negatively affected by an influx of Indian onions and local harvests.
In September of last year, there was an import upswing for the kitchen staple after prices took off caused by India's export ban and weak local supplies. Importers secured government approval to bring in 217,000 tonnes. Since then they imported 147,000 tonnes.
But after India lifted the ban on exports on the first day of January and the local variety started to be harvested, the onions that were imported from other countries lost their appeal. If the importers attempt to receive their goods, they might have to pay charges for storage facilities of refrigerated containers and demurrage charges for delays in getting the items released.
Several importers say perishable items such as onion have a short shelf life once they are thawed on being taken out of freezer containers. So traders come to receive the goods from the port after having sold them in advance to reduce chances of it rotting. There is a shortage of space at warehouses as well.
According to an article on moneycontrol.com, Indian onions have been outpriced in the global market, as prices at home rule higher than those in competing nations. High freight charges and schedules of ships, too, are coming in the way of exports.
“The situation for onion exports is not favourable as our prices are higher than the offers from China and Pakistan. The schedule of vessels and freight charges are also not matching up to buyers expectations,” said a Gujarat-based exporter.