China’s pomelo exports increase 20 per cent with strong European growth following container cost plummet 

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Exports to the Netherlands have risen 30 per cent in value in 2023

China’s pomelo industry has welcomed a third consecutive year of export growth with volumes increasing 20 per cent year-on-year in 2023, according to China Customs. 

European trade has been a driver of the growth with exports to the Netherlands surging 30 per cent in value over the corresponding period.  

With increased rain affecting 2023 yield and other challenges including increased labour costs, Lan Bilong, general manager of Onedayone Group Zhangzhou, attributed export growth primarily to a reduction in shipping costs. 

“Our business faced multiple challenges in 2023, including a late start for pomelos, escalating labour costs, and a nearly halved yield rate for medium-sized pomelos destined for Europe due to increased rainfall from April to August, which led to a doubled pomelo market buying price for the medium size,” he revealed. 

“However, the decrease in shipping costs has emerged as a significant motivating factor for exporters to actively pursue opportunities in the European market.” 

Shipping costs from Xiamen to Rotterdam in September 2022 were approximately US$4,200 per container, while in September 2023, the price plummeted to US$950 per container according to Lan 

In 2020, China exported 83,913 tonnes of pomelos to the Netherlands. The following year, export volumes experienced a significant decline, almost halving in number.  

“As an exporter, we have maintained overall control over the supply. In my opinion, the fluctuation is primarily from the demand side, influenced by various complex factors, especially the challenges posed by shipping costs,” said Lan. 

“The steady recovery in pomelo exports to the Netherlands shows the resilience of the industry and the adaptability of exporters in navigating challenges to sustain growth.  The Chinese pomelo market remains poised for further success, building on the achievements of 2023.”