Hard scenario for SE European countries depending on imports
Shipping is becoming a major problem in Europe nowadays as transporters are rethinking their routes to avoid countries with a large number of coronavirus cases. That could have a serious impact on the food supply chain in SE European countries already affected by massive losses in animal production due to African Swine Fever outbreaks, such as Romania, Bulgaria and Poland. "For the time being we are still able to deliver meat in Romania from our factories in Spain but there is a real issue with transporters. Last week I have found 4 trucks in Spain to carry the meat to Romania, this week there is none. They fear that the drivers will be put in quarantine or something like that.
Also, there are problems in choosing the right route for arriving at the destination. I've seen the European officials talking about creating special routes only for haulers but we already have encountered problems through Slovenia and Hungary. Right now most of the trucks are rerouted through Austria but there are problems in Hungary. Well, if transportation across Europe will be blocked in a couple of weeks will be all starving in Romania. Currently, I believe that we import 70% of the pork consumed in the domestic market," said Veronica Moje, sales representative in the Romanian market for the Spanish producer Hemosa.
Pork accounts for 53% of the animal protein consumed in Romania. The self-sufficiency rate in pork has dropped to 60% due to African swine fever control, says an independent study conducted by the Wageningen University and Research (WUR).
Logistics is also having an effect on meat producers in Belgium, taking its toll on exports. "Markets are increasingly feeling the effect of corona lockdowns in various parts of the world. As for other commodities, it seems the major problems come from disruptions in the logistical chain. In Belgium, we are heading towards a total standstill. Schools are closed for the next 5 weeks, no events, bars and restaurants closed, most people stay home...
For the consumption of meat that should not necessarily be bad news, people cook nowadays more than ever. If the product reaches the consumer," commented Joris Coenen, Manager Belgian Meat Office.
Signs of disruption in the supply chain and exports are coming also from poultry producers in Poland but for the time being, some of them have decided to refrain their comments. "We do not make any comments yet. We monitor the market constantly because situation is very dynamic," Export Director for SuperDrob.