China show blog: Thai shrimp packers' 'big problem' meeting US orders : November 7, 2016
Tom Seaman : Undercurrentnews
Thailand having ‘big problem’ meeting US holiday shrimp orders
Thai packers are fighting for large size shrimp raw material to meet holiday orders for US and Canadian buyers, Jim Gulkin, managing director of Siam Canadian Group, told Undercurrent News.
“Thailand is having a big problem,” said Gulkin, who is based in Bangkok, but also has offices sourcing shrimp and frozen seafood across South East Asia and in India and China.
Earlier in the year, the Thai farmers were focusing on larger sizes.
“So, packers took major orders for large sizes, 16/20 [per kilogram count] EZ peel, 16/20 cooked, 21s, 26s. Thailand was taking huge orders for US and Canada,” he told Undercurrent.
However, prices for small-to-medium sized shrimp have since shot up. So, farmers started to harvest early, to capitalize on this.
“Now, when it is time to harvest the big sizes, there is much less. So, the factories are all struggling to get raw material and competing with each other to get these big sizes,” said Gulkin.
Orders for the North American holiday season are done, with a window of around two weeks left to ship, he said. It’s just a question of getting the raw material.
Overall, Thai production is strong in 2016, he said. “We will get our 300,000 [metric tons] of shrimp.”