Grocery and clothing prices rise as transport bottlenecks reduce supply

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The containers are stacked at Pyeongtaek Port in Gyeonggi on October 14. [NEWS1]

Imported products are becoming more and more expensive, as bottlenecks on a global scale make it more difficult to source products abroad.

Many countries, including Korea, the United States, Australia and Peru, have suffered from labor shortages in ports since the Covid-19 epidemic, as well as skyrocketing rates of freight.

Norwegian salmon, which cost 20,000 won ($ 17) to 23,000 won per kilogram (2.2 pounds) last year, now sells for between 25,000 won and 29,000 won, up 20 to 30 percent . The price of frozen shrimp from Vietnam and Indonesia has increased 15 percent in one year.

“Price increases will be inevitable for a while,” said Lee Sang-hoon, seafood buyer at Emart.

The price of octopus from Mauritania has increased 20 percent year on year.

Fruit prices are also volatile. Korea generally imports fruit from South America and Australia. It normally takes about four weeks for local retailers to receive orders, but now it takes about six to eight weeks.

A local discount store, which was scheduled to sell Australian oranges from early September, started selling them in mid-October due to delayed arrivals.

Retailers are already facing a shortage of Peruvian avocados. It usually takes four to seven days for a hard avocado to fully ripen. As they stay longer in containers, they arrive as fully ripe – sometimes rotten.

Fashion has been hit hard. Fashion companies find it difficult to purchase enough winter items as they usually have their overseas manufacturing plants in China and Vietnam.

“It looks like the demand for products for winter and spring will likely exceed the supply we can afford,” a Nike Korea spokesperson said.

Eland, who has a factory in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, has started operating factories in Korea more to cover orders for the fall and winter seasons.

Other fashion brands, like LF, Fila and the fashion division of Samsung C&T, which have factories overseas are also scrambling to operate factories locally.

“We barely got enough for the second half of the year, but the first half of next year will be more problematic,” a fashion industry source said. “It usually only took a week to receive the shipments, but it takes three or four more days nowadays. ”

BY LEE SOO-KI, LEE BYUNG-JUN AND SARAH CHEA [[email protected]]


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