Thailand expedites durian exports to compete with Vietnam

By Thi Ha   June 28, 2023 | 05:30 am PT
Thailand expedites durian exports to compete with Vietnam
A boy carries a durian fruit at a durian market in Bangkok, Thailand on July 17, 2007. Photo by Reuters
Thai exporters are halving the time it takes to deliver durian to China, from 8 days to four days, in order to better compete with Vietnam over the pungent fruit.

Thailand shipped 477,700 tons of fresh durian to China in the first five months, valued at a record high of $1.75 billion and the highest in 30 years, according to official data.

This is because the country has been utilizing a new railway connecting it with Laos and China which help reduce transportation time.

TerapongTechasathian, Assistant Chief Operation Officer at Pan-Asia Silk Road Ltd, which operates the railway, said that in April the company set the record by transporting 25 containers of durians from Thailand to China in one day.

The train arrived at the destination in 4.5 days, quicker than the original estimate of six days, he added.

In March, Thailand raised its durian export quality to retain Chinese customers.

CEO of Vietnam’s fruit exporters Vina T&T, Nguyen Dinh Tung, said that Thailand is making moves to consolidate its durian market share in China amid rising competition from Vietnam.

Vietnamese fresh durian exports to China in the first five months surged 18 times to $477 million. China accounted for 95% of all durian exports from Vietnam.

Vietnamese durian can be harvested all year round, which is an advantage compared to Thai durian, Tung said. But Thailand has more advantage in shipment time, he added.

Dang Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of Vietnam Fruits & Vegetables Association, said that Vietnam’s border with China means it is easier to export to there by road.

Exporting by train from Thailand to China is fast but costly, he added.

Vietnamese exporters need to be prepared to compete with rising competition not only from Thailand but also Malaysia and the Philippines for the Chinese market, with demand forecast to reach 2 million tons a year in the future, Nguyen said.

Increasing exports quality, building brands and investing in technology to enhance preservation are key tasks, he added.

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