Ecuadorian shrimp export reached record level

Published on 24 August 2020

Crustacean shipments overcame the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and expanded to unprecedented levels.

Shrimp is a high value product for producers and the more than 200,000 workers linked to its production chain in Ecuador. However, it is also an animal sensitive to pests and contamination by external agents. An infection detected in a shipment can close the entry of all shipments to the destination where the incident occurred, and even to the entire international market.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a container sent to China to have traces of coronavirus, so shipments were temporarily paralyzed. The Asian market generates 64% of the value of Ecuadorian shrimp exports, so it is critical to maintain safety, especially for China, which, as shown in the following table, is the most important destination for sales of this product from the South American country.

It should be noted that the good results of the first half of the year can contrast with what happened in July, after the recent incident with China. However, the country's producers confirm that they have managed to ensure that their products are not contaminated and can reach buyers without worrying about the transmission of diseases.

The following graph shows the monthly evolution of Ecuadorian shrimp sales abroad compared to the last two years. The result has been exceptional despite the slowdown in the global economy, so that although recovery from a health problem may be faced and there are references to lower production, demand may not be the problem.

The 2020 performance is distributed across almost all product categories and maintains the seasonal pattern, but exceeds in value that recorded in the last two years. As the following table shows, only low-value games have not registered a large jump, while the increase has been uniform in most games.

In general, conditions continue to be challenging for Ecuadorian shrimp exports worldwide. However, the fact that sanitation procedures continue to be guaranteed makes it easier for it to remain positioned as one of the best sellers globally. The pending work will be to ensure that the production, logistics and payment chains are maintained, at the same time that a level of supply has to be calculated that avoids excess inventories and unbalances prices or generates the payment of sunk costs.

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