Source: Undercurrent News

By Lewis Hu | Jan. 19, 2024

Additional reporting by Louis Harkell.

A Chinese port has become a key entry point for live Russian king crab into Shanghai, channeling some 2,300 metric tons of live seafood into the city in 2023, according to data from the Shanghai Changxing Island Fishing Port.

Changxing Hengsha Fishery Port received 31 foreign fishing vessels unloading catches last year, a 520% increase compared to 2022. The total import volume of live seafood represented 430% year-over-year growth, driven primarily by Russian crab.

Hengsha port has become a hub for seafood imports and trading thanks to its proximity to Shanghai and streamlined customs procedures. Hi-Chain, an importer and processor of Atlantic salmon founded in 2016, has a facility there producing fillets, slices, sashimi, and sushi, as well as “salmon rolls” for the Chinese hot pot market.

Meanwhile, China International Tuna Trading Center processes chilled tuna products, with storage for 2,000 tons of tuna held at minus 60 degrees Celsius.

Hengsha received a record 222 tons of crab in a single shipment when a Russian vessel docked in October of last year. According to local reports, Russian king crab transported by sea can reach Shanghai within three days after harvesting and has a high survival rate.

The port’s success comes as China’s overall imports of live Russian crab surged by 31% to 23,605 tons in the first 11 months of 2023, according to Undercurrent News’ trade portal. The value of imports from Russia increased by just 17% over the period to $755.0 million due to a supply boost of Russian crab that has weighed on prices.

Gao Xingqi, chairman of Shanghai Changxing, anticipates Hengsha’s seafood trade will continue to rise as the hub supplies more salmon, tuna, and crab to Shanghai’s seafood-hungry restaurants and markets.

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