The shipping cost from Qingdao in China to European ports has already increased to 14,000 USD per container. Even worse, shipping containers are difficult to find these days. This is the peak period of the Chinese pear export season, and exporters are struggling. Klaus, Head of Sales at Shandong Zhuoyi Import and Export Co., Ltd., a specialized producer and exporter of Chinese pears, recently talked about harvest conditions and export conditions in the Chinese pear industry.
Klaus first introduced the conditions in the production area. "Hebei as a whole suffered from excessive rainfall, storm winds, hailstones, and other natural disasters. These weather conditions had a huge impact on the harvest of imperial crown pears. The overall production volume declined by 20%. Furthermore, hailstorms increased the volume of second-rate fruit by 10%. However, compared to last year, the production volume of imperial crown pears still increased by 15%-20%," explained Klaus. "In the end, the average product quality is still better than last year and the harvest was abundant. We expect a production volume of around 18 million tons."
"As for the price, the purchase price of imperial crown pears was around 2.95 yuan [0.46 USD] per kg in early August and dropped to 2.2 yuan [0.34 USD] per kg in late August. The harvest of Ya pears began late this year. And the poor weather conditions had little impact on their growth. The harvest is now in full swing and the purchase price of Ya pears is around 1 yuan [0.15 USD] per kg."
When asked about his predictions for the fresh pear market this year, Klaus replied: "The prices of pears start low and during the season they drop even further, but that decline is stable. There are few fluctuations throughout the year, but trade slows down. Visiting traders reduce their purchase volumes to minimize the risks of trading during a pandemic. More farmers are likely to store their own pears until market conditions improve. They hope consumption will resume after the pandemic is over. There is currently very little consumer demand. Pears are optional products, not daily necessities, and consumers have less purchasing power. This puts a lot of pressure on the pear market. Consumers will love inexpensive, delicious fruit with a great price-quality ratio. Only marketable fruits will be able to win over the hearts of consumers."
Shandong Zhuoyi Import and Export primarily exports pears to Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia. "Shipping containers are difficult to find during this pandemic, especially after the Covid-19 Delta strain worsened the pandemic again. In addition, shipping costs are soaring. Sending a refrigerated 40ft shipping container from China to the USA now costs nearly 20,000 USD. Sending the same container to Europe instead used to cost around 5,000 USD in May, but is now as much 14,000 USD. These high prices naturally cause the cost price of export pears to go up as well. The higher price of export pears lowers their competitive price advantage in the export market and limits their export volume," said Klaus.
"When the domestic price is low, then that becomes an advantage in the export market. After the pandemic, China will resume its leading role in the global economy. As overseas markets gradually recover from the outbreak of Covid-19, the exchange rate of the Chinese yuan stabilizes, and international supply chains slowly improve. That is the time when China should invest in expanding international marketing channels and relieve the pressure on fruit storage facilities and domestic retail channels."
Klaus also discussed the advantages of Shandong Zhuoyi Import and Export. "We combine the plantation with commercial enterprise. Our pear orchards cover a total of 167 hectares, of which 120 hectares in Botou, Jinzhou, and Zhao county, all in Hebei. In Shandong we have 47 hectares in Laiyang and Guan county. We have an annual production volume of 10,000 tons. We also applied for a patent on our organic cultivation technology. We dispatch specialized teams from our company to the orchards where they deliver integrated technological support for plantation management, fertilizer, international standard bio-degradable pesticides, and bio-degradable protective pouches for the pears. That is how we guarantee a stable supply of high-quality pears that do not violate the standards for residue on agricultural products.
"We export to high-end markets in the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe. We have a great reputation among our clients, because we have never had to return or destroy a container due to problems with chemical residue or product quality. We mainly produce Ya pears and imperial crown pears, but we also produce small volumes of red Xiangsu pears, new Gao pears, and Autumn Moon pears."
For more information:
Klaus - Head of Sales
Shandong Zhuoyi Import and Export Co., Ltd.