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More Congestion Problems Disrupt Trade at Vietnam–China Border

February 27, 2022

According to Vietnamese media reports, the Department of Industry and Trade of Vietnam’s Lang Son province announced on Feb. 12 that it would stop receiving vehicles transporting fresh fruit during Feb. 16–25 in an effort to relieve pressure at border crossings in the province.

As of the morning of the announcement, 1,640 trucks were reportedly stranded on the Vietnamese side of the border at three key crossings, namely, the Friendship Pass, Puzhai–Tan Thanh and Aidian–Chi Ma. The majority of these — a total of 1,390 trucks — were carrying fresh fruit. By Feb. 13, the total number of trucks had risen even further to 1,815.

Vietnam has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in recent months, with the number of new cases currently approaching 80,000 per day. In response to this situation alongside outbreaks in the city of Baise, which lies just across the border in Guangxi province, Chinese authorities have been bolstering their disease control and prevention measures. Consequently, the time required for customs clearance has increased from the previous 10–15 minutes per vehicle to several hours. On average, only 70–90 trucks manage to clear customs each day.

In contrast, 160–180 trucks arrive at the border crossings in Vietnam every day, many of which are carrying fresh produce such as dragon fruit, watermelons, jackfruit and mangos. As it is currently the harvest season in southern Vietnam, large quantities of fruits are entering the market.

At the Friendship Pass, a driver transporting dragon fruit said that he had been unable to clear customs since he arrived several days previously. These circumstances have markedly increased operating expenses for shipping companies, who have become reluctant to accept orders for transporting goods to China and are instead switching to domestic transportation jobs within Vietnam.

The secretary-general of the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetable Association said that the impact of this congestion may not be as serious as in late 2021, although some fruits such as jackfruit, dragon fruit, mangos and watermelons would still be affected. Until the situation can be resolved, this is anticipated to lead to decreases in both domestic fruit prices in Vietnam and exports to China.

Image: Pixabay

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.


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