Agri Business

Tea exporters caught between buyers' pressure and lockdown

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on March 28, 2020

Even while the tea trade association in Kochi is considering to reopen its warehouses from March 30, the exporters in Coimbatore did not deny the pressure from buyers; but “no containers are available to lift the goods to Kochi Port. Drivers are not ready to take the risk”, an industry source said.

Admitting that the situation might look up after the 21 day lockdown period, the source said “but the journey might not be smooth. It could take a month or two for things to regularise.”

The source however felt that lockdown is necessary for safety of life and health of the people.

Exporters worries

The South India Tea Exporters’ Association has in a communication to the State Government pointed out that exporters had high volume of shipping orders this season, as the world is grappling with shortage of essential commodities.

Exporters have voiced apprehension about losing out to China and Sri Lanka, which were competing in this segment. Hence to keep the manufacturing units operational and continue with uninterrupted deliveries – both for the domestic and international markets, the association has sought clarification from the Centre as most intermediaries have closed their operations.

“Container yards have either been shut or there are no fork-lift operators in yards. Trainer-truck drivers are not reporting to work as they fear police high-handedness. As a result, movement of containers from the yards to factories in Tamil Nadu and back to Tuticorin and Kochi ports have been hampered as the drivers are unable to convince the personnel manning the check posts on the genuinity and urgency of these shipments with available documents.”

Under these circumstances, the association has sought clear notification to permit movement of goods from factories to port and vice versa, issuance of Epasses to delivery partners with facility to apply and download online permit for hassle-free movement of goods.

Published on March 28, 2020

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