Hanoi [Vietnam]: Exporters could lose USD 131 to 175 million as thousands of container trucks remain stuck at the Vietnam and China border.
A truck typically carries goods worth Vietnamese dong (VND) 500-900 million, and the costs of renting the truck and hiring a driver could increase by VND100 million-plus other expenses, chairman of Vietnam Fruit Association Dang Phuc Nguyen told VnExpress. This means losses could hit VND3-4 trillion if fruit including dragon fruit, jackfruit, watermelons and mangoes grow rotten due to delays, he said.
As of December 21, there are 6,200 container trucks stuck at the border with China, among which 4,400 are in Lang Son Province, according to Vietnam Customs.
Exporters are stuck between a rock and a hard place: they cannot cross the border to sell in China, but returning to sell domestically would likely result in a major loss.
“Dragon fruit prices in Hanoi are around VND4,000 per kilogram or a quarter of export prices. This will make us suffer heavy losses, not to mention other expenses,” said Tran Ngoc Hiep, CEO of dragon fruit exporter Thanh Long Hoang Hau.
The delay in clearance is due to Chinese authorities having tightened COVID-19 safety measures.
They also reported technical difficulties in their network system, said Hoang Khanh Duy, deputy head of Dong Dang Economic Zone in Lang Son.
Delays in clearance in other localities, including Quang Ninh and Cao Bang, and stoppage in Lao Cai, force most trucks to pour into Lang Son, he said.
Driver Nguyen Van Toi, with ten years of experience driving long distances, said the clearance delay happens every year but that this year it is especially long.
Many stranded drivers have been forced to cook their own meals on the spot.
Taking advantage of the situation, the local food vendors have increased the price, some drivers had to order food from locals priced at VND 50,000 (USD 2.18) a portion, reported VNExpress.Moreover, the drivers have to go through many difficulties. Some of them had to rest on a hammock.
Lang Son authorities on December 14 had a phone discussion with Chinese authorities to propose solutions to clear the goods, especially for agricultural produce.
Meanwhile, the Chinese customs authorities earlier told officials of Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development that COVID-19 checks on goods are necessary procedures.