The region that has registered the highest ever rice export of 4,000 TEUs in February has seen the number falling below 2,500 TEUs in April mainly due to lack of empty containers

Growing demand for rice at the international markets is once again giving much needed respite to the exporters of the region as many fear-gripped countries are buying huge quantities of the commodity. However, non-availability of the containers and lack of infrastructure at MIHAN and Borkhedi ICD seem to be spoiling the game. The region that has registered the highest ever rice export of 4,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in February (this year) has seen the number falling below 2,500 TEUs in April mainly due to lack of empty containers. Prakash Khemka of Bharat Shipping Agency, one of the leading exporters based here, told The Hitavada that the demand for parboiled rice has gone manifold in recent past.

“The order booking position of all the region’s exporters is very encouraging but unfortunately there is disruption in shipping the commodity. There are no containers available here which is discouraging all of us,” he said. Santosh Kumar Singh, Chief Manager of Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR), confirmed that the rice export from the region has gone up which has created additional demand for empty containers. However, he downplayed the shortage of containers.

“We are doing everything possible to meet the demand. CONCOR is offering a discount of 25 per cent on transportation of empty containers so that the same could be made available here for rice export,” he added. But exporters said that CONCOR is struggling to meet the increased demand of empty containers to facilitate export of the commodity which is directly affecting the trade. In addition to this, inflated ocean freight is also posing a big threat to the exporters. It has seen hike of 70 to 80 per cent in a short span of three months.

It is the second season in a row when the commodity is enjoying significant demand from many Gulf and African countries that are buying rice in the backdrop of the second wave of coronavirsus. MIHAN and Borkhedi ICD together used to contribute rice export of about 1,500 TEUs per month till last year. But when the coronavirus wreaked havoc across the globe, demand for parboiled rice surged dramatically. Last year, the regional exporters managed to ship between 2,000 TEUs and 2,500 TEUs of rice per month. A special variety of rice known as parboiled rice is in great demand in many African and Gulf countries. It is cultivated in many districts of Vidarbha and Chhattisgarh.

Source: The Hitavada