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A protest on the streets of Chile's salmon farming 'capital', Puerto Montt, in the Los Lagos region. Photo: Salmon Expert.
A protest on the streets of Chile's salmon farming 'capital', Puerto Montt, in the Los Lagos region. Photo: Salmon Expert.

Salmon export earnings from the Los Lagos region of Chile fell by almost 20% in November due to the interruption of the logistics chain caused by social unrest.

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According to the latest Export Bulletin published at the beginning of the week by Chile’s National Statistics Institute (INE), salmon exports from Los Lagos – one of Chile’s three salmon producing regions – were worth US $366.2 million in November.

This is a year-on-year decrease of $90.5m, or 19.8%, “partly attributable to a smaller quantity of merchandise sent in comparison to what was registered in November 2018,” the report stated. Export earnings from Japan and Russia fell the most.

In terms of volume, exports were 11.9% lower than in October 2019.

Roadblocks

The last months of 2019 saw widespread unrest in Chile as workers took to the streets and built roadblocks to protest at rising living costs and a growing gap between rich and poor. In some cases workers were also forced to leave salmon processing plants by protesters.

The regional director of ProChile, Ricardo Arriagada, told Fish Farming Expert’s Chilean sister site, Salmon Expert, that “this decrease is mainly due to the effects of the social outbreak in the country, which meant a different planning of the production and harvest areas, where the associated logistics were delayed”.

Arriagada pointed out that “we have seen that during December 2019 and the first half of January 2020 there has been a great movement of certificates and that indicates that there is a revival of the sector and quite significant in the first half of January of the current year”.

Francisco Muñoz: November was the most difficult month.
Francisco Muñoz: November was the most difficult month.

Logistics chain

Francisco Muñoz, Los Lagos regional secretary of the Department of Economy, said that “November was the most difficult month in terms of logistics and that was reflected in the level of exports”. 

He added: “This was a postponement of exports, there was no lower production, but there was a delay since there was an interruption in the logistics chain both in the ports of the Biobío and Valparaíso regions, as well as a short period in Empormontt.”

The department said some actions are being carried out, such as consolidating declarations of origin from the Los Lagos region, “so that exporting companies have a greater range of export routes, reducing dependence on the Biobío region, and also soon the expansion of the El Tepual airport will begin, which will allow expansion of the warehouse structure and international direct trade.”

Japan earnings fell most

Japan represented 33.7% of value of salmon exports from Los Lagos in November 2019, totalling $123.3m, a year-on-year reduction of 25.2%.

Exports to the United States were worth $116.8m (31.9%), a decrease of 1.7%.

Exports to Russia were worth $32.1m (8.8%), a value decrease of 19.6% compared to November 2018. 

Exports to Brazil were worth $29.6m, ( 8.1%), a decrease in value of 15.1% year-on-year.

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