A batch of 18 tonnes of frozen grilled eels has recently been packed and delivered from Ganzhou City, east China's Jiangxi Province, to Russia, resuming the local export suspended since the outbreak of COVID-19 one and a half years ago.
"We almost lost the market in Russia largely due to the pandemic," said Qiu Deqin, the person in charge of Ruijin Hongdu Aquatic Food Co., Ltd.
He said the company's aquatic food products, especially frozen grilled eels, had sold well in markets of more than 20 countries and regions around the world. Now, the company has regained market access to Russia, which accounted for one-third of its exports, said Qiu.
Hu Shouping, deputy director of the import and export food safety division of the Nanchang Customs, said that due to the impact of the pandemic, the cold chain transport of food exports dropped sharply. Many Chinese eel exporters have been struggling for survival.
China's eel fisheries are mainly distributed in the eastern and southern provinces of Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang and formed an export-oriented industry that includes cultivating, breeding, feed production, and by-product processing.
In the face of the pandemic, various government departments have increased the support of fishery enterprises, helping them upgrade industrial and supply chains and the production environment to improve their competitiveness, and meet requirements in the Russian market.
Qiu said customs staff carried out the on-site inspection on grilled eels and timely sampled them for inspection. "The whole-chain inspection helps ensure the company's quality control to re-sign orders with Russian customers."
Since the beginning of 2021, China's export of eel products has recovered rapidly, especially to Russia. According to the Nanchang Customs, from January to July, Jiangxi's exports of eels were worth 30.39 million yuan (about 4.7 million U.S. dollars), up by over 200 percent year on year.
Earlier this year, a food company in Jiangxi received its first order from an overseas e-commerce platform for frozen raw eels.
Cheng Shaoming, vice-general manager of Wancunquan Food Co., Ltd., said the company's export products are mainly grilled eels. The Russian customer placed the e-commerce deal for frozen raw eels.
"Nowadays, overseas orders from different countries and regions have more personalized needs. We will adjust the product structure to provide better services to overseas customers," Cheng said.