“Shipping costs represent nearly 60% of the price of onions exported from China to Europe”
Shipping costs increase rapidly, while shipping is often delayed. In addition, the Chinese yuan appreciates. These are the main challenges facing the Chinese onion industry today.
An exporter from Shandong said the factory price for peeled onions was already around $ 600 per tonne, almost $ 200 more than around the same time last year. There are three reasons for this situation. First, the overall area devoted to planting onions has decreased this year. In addition, domestic demand was high, so that a larger percentage of the production volume ended up in the domestic market. Finally, the average product quality is not as good this year, which means that fewer onions are suitable for the export market. This is why the export price of premium onions is so high.
The price of shipping has been high since October of last year and shows no signs of falling. Shipping from Qingdao to Europe costs around 8,500-9,000 euros [10,305-10,911 USD] By container. Calculated per ton of onions, the shipping cost can reach $ 375. In addition, shipments are longer and containers often arrive very late. Many ports are processing containers slower than usual due to a labor shortage. The containers are piling up. This is why freighters must spend 2-3 days in port before the vessel is cleared. By the time ships arrive at their final destination, they are often 10 to 15 days late.
In addition, the Chinese yuan has recently appreciated, weakening their export trade. Importers are less willing to import Chinese products as their price is now relatively higher. All of these reasons combine to create a situation where foreign importers have very little demand for Chinese onions. The order volume is extremely low.
The exporter from Shandong explained that this situation applies to peeled onions as well as red onions with peel. Now that the Dutch onion season is almost over, a number of European onion processing factories will have to import their onions from China. At the moment, the exporter from Shandong only supplies a small volume of # 35-50 onions. The factory price of baby onions is around USD 550 per ton, which is higher than last year.