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HomeCustoms & TradeMeat imports, holiday season lift cold storage sector

Meat imports, holiday season lift cold storage sector

  • Cold storage facilities in the National Capital Region Plus area are enjoying high occupancy rates
  • Facilities in other parts of the country are benefiting from inventory build-up to the holiday season
  • Meat imports take up most of volumes in NCR Plus
  • Cold Chain Association of the Philippines sees consumption of more locally produced holiday products if shipping issues continue to delay imports

Cold storage facilities in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area continue to enjoy high occupancy rates, thanks to elevated meat imports under the government’s expanded minimum access volume (MAV) scheme, according to the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines (CCAP).

The pandemic-induced slow market response to imported pork products further contributed to keeping utilization rates up, CCAP president Anthony Dizon told PortCalls in an email, noting the “market response to imported pork products has not been as receptive as expected.” This has meant longer stay of pork products in cold storage facilities.

Cold stores in other parts of the country, meanwhile, have “benefitted somehow from the traditional inventory buildup for the holiday season,” he said.

Meat imports take up most of cold storage volumes in the NCR Plus area, Dizon said, adding there is also a buildup in poultry inventories, presumably in preparation for the holidays.

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna comprise the NCR Plus area.

Asked whether the bottleneck in global shipping will affect supply of meat and other frozen goods for the holidays, Dizon said “we anticipate that consumption of holiday products may shift to locally produced items if imports are delayed due to the shipping situation.”

He said cold chain operators do not see other challenges to operations during the holiday season. “The concern, if at all, could be whether there will actually be a demand spike during the holidays, considering that consumers may still be in financial recovery mode and the 13th month pay may still be in question in the [micro, small, and medium enterprises] sector,” Dizon noted.

With the signing of Executive Order No. 133 last May, the MAV for pork imports was raised to 254,210 metric tons from 54,210 MT “to quell the existing shortage, decrease retail prices, and stabilize inflation” brought by the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak that started in 2019.

READ: EO signed raising pork import MAV to 254,210 MT

The MAV refers to the volume of quantity of a specific agricultural commodity that may be imported with a lower tariff.

Last August, Dizon said cold chain facilities in the NCR Plus area saw increased utilization with the arrival of initial shipments of meat imports under the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) MAV+ scheme. The MAV+ scheme implements EO 133 and restricts sale and consumption of imported pork to the NCR Plus area.

READ: Pork imports lift cold storage utilization in NCR Plus to 75%

Dizon said CCAP, however, had already “expressed our misgivings on this mandate, our position being that ASF exists in the other regions of the country and thus, pork supply also needs to be augmented in those areas.”

Under NMIS Memorandum Order No. 07-2021-286, all imported pork meat should only be sold or distributed in wet markets, KADIWA centers, and supermarkets in the NCR Plus area.

Moreover, all shipments holding a MAV+ import clearance should only have as ports of entry the Manila International Container Terminal, Manila South Harbor, Batangas port, and Subic port. In addition, shipments holding a MAV+ import clearance can only be stored in NMIS-accredited cold storage warehouses in the NCR Plus area.

Dizon earlier said cold storage facilities in the NCR Plus area can handle the increase in meat imports as long as these arrive in tranches of 35,000 MT per month as scheduled under the MAV+ scheme.

Moreover, an additional 30,000 pallet spaces are due for commissioning in the Luzon area in the third quarter of the year, which will help beef up capacity.– Roumina Pablo

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