Covid-19 outbreak hits frozen durian exports to China

The Musang King is the favourite in China.

KUALA LUMPUR: A shortage of labour in Chinese ports due to the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted shipments of frozen durian from Malaysia, Reuters reported.

“Everybody is having a problem to clear the goods due to port congestion. It’s really hitting us,” Ernest Lee, marketing director of Durian Hill, said here.

Malaysia is the world’s second-largest durian exporter after Thailand, shipping RM160.6 million worth of durians to China in 2018.

The Musang King variety has found favour with the Chinese.

China used to account for 79% of Malaysia’s frozen durian exports, but the Covid-19 outbreak has drastically affected this.

One top exporter, Hernan Corp, told Reuters it expected to lose RM15 million in the next quarter.

Its director, Anna Teo, said even its durian ice cream was not moving.

Durian stall operators in Petaling Jaya said the number of tourists had gone down by 80%, with prices down by 20% as a result.

Chinese tourists used to flock to such stalls in the past.

One outlet owner, Cheong Tok Kong, said unsold durians will be sent to factories to make paste and other food products after 36 hours.