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October 2013

Upcoming Chinese New Year Holidays

The Chinese New Year Holidays for the year 2014 are just around the corner. Even though the official celebrations take place from the 30th of January to the 5th of February, the custom is that most of the factory workers will start leaving their work places from the 15th of January in order to be able to spend the celebrations with their families at there places of origin. Most of the workers wont be back at work until the 15th of February. The extended time off they get over Chinese New Year can be the only period during the year that migrant workers from remote provinces have time off to make the long trip to see their families. From experience we anticipate that the Chinese New Year celebrations can have a huge impact in the order and production flow.

Before the celebrations:
Based on our experience we can anticipate that the last two weeks before Chinese New Year will reach a peak in customs, terminals and transportations, this could lead to delay in deliveries, specially when most of the companies take these celebrations into account. The orders then accumulate and the priority will be given to the orders placed at an early stadium (FIRST IN, FIRST OUT).

After the celebrations:
Orders placed after Chinese New Year may also be impacted. In the weeks following Chinese New Year, we tend to see that factories need even more weeks in order to be able to warm up. The delays in delivery would be caused not only by the accumulation of the orders placed right before the Chinese new year but also because of the fact that many of the workers that left the factory heading to their provinces do not return back to their work after the holidays. Therefore the factories have the need to train new staff and this can slow down the production even more.

What to do:
As we all know, there is a time lapse of 2 months between the moment an order is placed and the moment the order gets delivered. This means that if the product is needed in January the orders should be placed between the first and the second week of November . Products needed in February will have to be ordered on December already. All orders placed in January will be affected by the celebrations meaning that the lapse of two months will get even longer. As said before, the factories will always give priority to the orders placed at an early stadium. The whole week celebrations will take place on 2014 from the 13th until the 20th of April. In order to be able to deliver on time, the orders should also be placed on December or at the beginning of January so that the factories have enough time to work on the production.

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December 2012

Upcoming freight rate increase effective from January

After months of stable rate levels, the different shipping Lines have once again announced another GRI(General Rate Increase) for the reefer containers to be effective from the 1st of January 2013. The increase will be around $750 for the 20ft reefer containers and $1.500 for the 40ft reefer containers. Even though the shipping lines increased their rates drastically at the beginning of the present year, the increase was not enough to level their profits which have been extremely affected by the economic crisis. Also, the lines will need to invest billions of dollars in new equipment between now and 2015. Refrigerated containers are almost four times as costly to build and maintain as dry containers and associated expenses such as plugs, bunker cost and R&D put the costs in even more pressure. If the lines maintain the trend of this year, January will be only the beginning of even more GRI’s to take place the first half of next year. Other than the last GRI’s, this new GRI will comprise the flows from Asia to Europe as well as Africa to Europe. In order to soften the impact of the rates increase we will do our very best to negotiate as much as possible with the shipping lines and our forwarding agents.

Froconsur at the SEAFEX Fair in Dubai

From 19th to the 21st of November Froconsur participated at the SEAFEX Fair in Dubai. The fair was held at the World Trade Centre in Dubai and was set up to promote the seafood industry in the region. With over 50 kilos per year per capita of seafood consumption, the Middle East market has a great potential. In order to get to know this market Froconsur decided to have a stand in this fair fully dedicated to the industry. The responses were beyond our expectative leading to great opportunities for the coming years to get a share of this market.

Increasing Panga Prices

Severe shortage of raw material and decreasing number of Panga farmers are leading once again to an increase in the Panga prices. Also, the low raw material prices of the past months, which were in many cases lower than the production costs, have forced farmers to reduce the amount of fishes in their ponds. This in order to create less availability of the product and being able to ask more money for the available fish. The expectation of some factories is that the prices keep on rising, specially around the month of February which is when the Vietnamese new year takes place and the domestic consumption is usually as its strongest.

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07 February 2011

Situation Squid

Since early February 2011, the new Illex season started. At the moment in Argentina they started fishing the Illex Argentinus outside the 120 miles zone, low quantities, sizes small. The first signs are not encouraging, they have no high expectations of the fishing this year and daily rates are extremely high!

In China the situation regarding the Todarodes Pacificus, which in recent years is used as an alternative for the Illex, is not much better. There is availability towards April/May 2011. Back Orders must still be extradited. The new season will start in August.

Despite a slightly lower demand for squid than for the crisis on the world, there is an increasing demand. Especially on the local market is a fast growing demand. Everything on a lot, prices in the coming months Squid will only further increase. There is far too little product available and the market is accustomed to higher prices.

Global Fish Consumptio

The global fish consumption will reach a record high in 2010. According to figures from the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations. An average person now eats 17 pounds of fish per year. Especially Chinese are significantly more fish to consume.

Nevertheless the world food organization is concerned about this lack of resources. More and more people eat fish, but despite the growth of industrial farms and fierce measures against overfishing, the oceans’ fish stocks still deteriorates.

The FAO is concerned, but do not want to erase the benefits of increased production and consumption of fish. Fished and farmed fish provides 540 million people, or eight percent of the world's a living.

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10 December 2010

Pangasius selling price in Mekong Delta is setting a record high.

Pangasius selling price in Mekong Delta is setting a record high, at $0.93 to $0.95/kg per kilo, depending on fish quality.

Thanks to high fish selling price and stable feed price, Pangasius farmers can earn profit when they harvest the fish. However, Pangasius farmers might suffer losses if they stock the fish now, especially when feed price and other expenses are increasing. This year, the number of Pangasius ponds being abandoned or used for farming other species decreased by more than 30 percent. Therefore, Pangasius output in An Giang in 2010 is expected to be about 200,000MT, less than 280,000MT in 2009.

In the last three years, heavy losses forced Pangasius farmers to mortgage their land and properties. Consequently, dozens of Pangasius export processors in An Giang were running at 40-60 percent of the designed capacity. Other provinces like Vinh Long, Can Tho and Dong Thap also have to suffer a severe shortage of Pangasius.

Europe is facing a shortage of pangasius

Europe is already facing a shortage of pangasius, and the situation is only going to get worse.

Vietnamese processors are receiving such low prices for IQF pangasius fillets from European buyers — USD 2.80 to USD 3 per kilogram CIF for best quality fish (100 percent white with a 5 percent glaze) — that they’re stockpiling the fish in cold storage in Viet Nam. Companies such as Bianfishco are reportedly holding upward of 10,000 metric tons of product each, while waiting to see what happens to a U.S. measure, part of the 2008 Farm Bill, that would transfer the responsibility of inspecting pangasius from the Food and Drug Administration to the Department of Agriculture, which would effectively slow imports considerably.

If the decision on the measure, which is expected in January, favors the Vietnamese, then the stockpiled supplies will be released to the U.S. market. IQF pangasius fillets are currently fetching USD 3.70 per kilogram CIF U.S. ports, which is at least USD 0.70 per kilogram higher than two years ago and about 30 percent above what European importers are paying. If the decision goes against the Vietnamese, then processors will be forced to seek alternative markets.

There is already far higher demand for pangasius in Europe than there is fish available. The buyer for Globus, a major discount retailer in Germany, has publicly stated that he could sell twice as much pangasius than he has been able to buy but cannot get a hold of it. (Observers have estimated that Vietnam could easily sell about 2 million metric tons (round weight) of pangasius worldwide, double the amount that farmers are currently producing.)

The shortage in Europe is likely to last until May when the new harvest becomes available. This means that European retailers, some of whom can sell four to five containers each per week, will miss both the vital Christmas/New Year and Easter periods. (Each container has 20 metric tons of fillets on board.)

However, it is far from certain that the shortage will ease in May. The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), which includes fisheries, is so concerned about the low prices being paid for pangasius in Europe, and the hardship it’s causing to Vietnamese farmers, that it is stepping in to restrict the volume of pangasius produced in 2011 to 1 million metric tons, the same as it was in 2009.

To achieve this, the ministry will limit the number of farming licences and set a minimum farm-gate price of VND 18,000 (USD 0.92) per kilogram, as this price has dropped to as low as VND 13,000 (USD 0.67) per kilogram. The ministry also wants to improve the product quality and thus hopes to raise the export price of pangasius to well over USD 3 per kilogram.

There have been several attempts by the Vietnamese Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) to impose a minimum selling price for pangasius in Europe and other regions of the world, but none have been successful. Now it seems that the government has lost patience and will itself try to impose controls on both the farmers and the processors who buy in pangasius from independent farmers.

Chinese New Year 2011

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Spring Festival, is the most important Chinese holiday. It is not only celebrated in China and Taiwan but also in four other East Asian Countries including Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. In 2011 the Chinese new year begins on February 3.

This means that our Seafood suppliers do no processing orders from mid January until mid-February. If your seafood is not ordered before the end of December it means that early March the goods will be shipped and early April arrive at the port of destination.

Slow steaming here to stay

As of September 2010 all big international Freight Forwarders sets out a clear course for slow steaming. The main target to reduce fuel costs. It was easy to argue in favour of slow steaming back when the crisis wreaked havoc in international box shipping. Not only does slow steaming save energy and cut CO2 emissions, it also took boxes out of circulation, thereby stopping rates from tail-spinning. Slow steaming in fact absorbed 4.1% of the global fleet at one point, which in turn helped balance supply and demand.

We expect that the slow steaming measure will be structural. Depending of both the port of shipment and the port of destination the delay will be approximately 7 -10 days.

Conclusion

To have the proper amount of raw materials necessary we strongly advice you to order latest end of December. These order will be produced and picked for your organization for shipment end January.

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01 March 2010

Pangasius, a Vietnamese farmed fish, has been developed to one of the major export products of Vietnam in the last few years. This fish is consumed all over the world and each day dozens of containers loaded with Pangasius are leaving the ports of Vietnam to be distributed globally. The popularity of this fish is partly caused by the fact that it’s rather cheap and available in supermarkets.

The European and American markets are very interesting for the various Vietnamese Pangasius farmers. Because enormous volumes are being farmed, there might be a danger of bad quality; however we only deal with carefully selected farmers on which our quality managers in Vietnam will conduct inspections on the product before shipping out. That way we can guarantee the desired quality.

End of last year, we received information that the demand for Pangasius was increasing. This was caused by the fact that the stocks in Europe and the USA were declining and the importers needed to place more orders. This increased demand, caused rising of the prices of raw material. We informed our customers timely so they could purchase at a lower price and that their products were delivered to them at a price which is lower than the current market price. The products that were purchased in December are currently shipped and delivered to our customers. Given the fact that the information has become reality and the prices have increased, then our customers have a huge price difference advantage. Taken into consideration that the exchange rate of the US$ vs. € has improved and that the freight rates have increased, this price level will increase all over the world.

So now it’s a very good moment to anticipate at the current developments and place the order for Pangasius.

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07 January 2010

For the import of wild caught (deepfrozen) fish in Europe, product will have to be accompanied by a catching certificate as of the first of January 2010. This certificate will have to state that the product has not been caught illegally. Fresh water fish and shell fish are excluded from the new regulation; nevertheless, wild caught shrimps do need a catching certificate.

The certificate will have to be issued by the authorized authority in the country of origin. To be able to trace the products catching method the certificate needs to stay with the product at all times.

Who checks?
In principle this is a documents audit, and will have to be checked by the customs authority.

Further audits could occur on the basis of a risk analysis. In the Netherlands, this would be done by VWA (health authority). Different audits could be; inquiry at the exporting country or physical checks of the products.

Due to the fact that the catching certificate will have to be issued simultaneously with the general documents (health certificate), it would be wise to have the documents at least three days prior to arrival of the products at the port of destination. If the documents arrive later, the importer might face delays. In the IUU regulations, there is a term of three days for registration of catching certificates. This gives the authorities the possibility to inquire additional information from the third country, prior to the arrival of the goods.

Catches before 1 January 2010
Catches before the first of January 2010 do not need a catching certificate. The importer will have to prove that the product have been caught before 2010. Most reliable is a declaration from the authorities of the country of origin, possibly with a notation in the health certificate. If this is not possible, other documents out of the administration could provide clarity.

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26 November 2009

Octopus is a product that used to be consumed in the Southern countries of Europe, but this tasty squid species is getting more and more popular in the other European countries.

Octopus used to be caught in the 90’s in South-Europe and the African countries located at the Mediterranean Sea. Nowadays there are more territories from which the product is being offered.

Until 2 years ago, the prices were constantly increasing, partly by the increasing demand for this popular product.

But since the end of last year, it is noticed that prices are strongly decreasing. For example the prices of the Maroc octopus (being considered as one of the best quality octopus) have decreased over 30% in the last year.

Until a few years ago, octopus from the Far East and South-America was of inferior quality compared with the European and African products, but lately there’s more supply from these areas at a good quality with a very well price/quality comparison.

FROCONSUR can offer very competitive prices from Maroc and Mauritania. But lately we are getting more and more enthusiastic customers for our products from Tanzania, Indonesia and Vietnam.

We are obtaining Octopus from these countries at a very high quality which is not treated with additions so that the taste, structure and efficiency is best. And…. the prices of these products are even significantly lower than the products from Africa while the quality is excellent!

So once again, it is a very interesting time to have a look at these products.

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1 october 2009

Squid – prices are increasing and availability gets tough, still China is the best option

Due to several circumstances, the availability of Squid (Bartrami, Todarodes Pacificus and Illex Argentinus), is much less compared with last year. For Bartrami, the catching is very disappointing this year, resulting in available volumes of less than 10% compared with normal annual catches. Because of the small volumes available and the existing demand, the prices are already increasing.

For the Todarodes Pacificus (especially large size to produce tubes U/5) the availability is also difficult. Due to the mainland needs in China (for Chinese Holiday early October) it is very hard to insert only one size of tubes into a 40ft container. Expectations are that prices will increase instead of decrease (also due to increased freight costs). Only later in October/early November bigger sizes are expected to become more available. This is expected to have a downwards effect on the price.

Even with the availability getting more tough (and increasing prices), still our Spanish customers that normally tend to buy the Squid in South America indicate that the prices we receive from China are much better than the prices they receive from South America. They normally buy the Illex Argentinus, but the catches of this product in the spring of 2009 were also very disappointing. Therefore they changed their focus onto the Chinese squid. So based on these information, Chinese squid is the best option at the moment.

For end of October/early November, a lot of fishing ships will get back to the mainland with their catches. It is expected that those fishing boats will bring in about 40-50% of the total of the year 2009 so that the supply by then will be better. Keep in mind that the majority of these quantities have already been pre-contracted because importers from around the world have taken their strategic positions. Under normal circumstances, the pricing is expected to stabilise at the current level after this period. The information we receive from our contacts throughout whole Asia doesn’t indicate the situation will change within the next few weeks, therefore to secure your quantities and be sure to receive the correct quality, it is wise to place your order now for the squid.

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22 july 2009

Child at Venture and Froconsur use money, knowledge and their network to help African entrepreneurs.

Amsterdam - 22 July 2009 – Child at Venture, a NGO which helps young adults in developing countries to become entrepreneurs and the Dutch Froconsur, a wholesaler in deep-frozen species of fish, will help Kenyan entrepreneurs set up their business.

The cooperation exists of ‘adopting’ a business in Kenya by Froconsur. The young Kenyans have been trained in entrepreneurship by Child at Venture. Froconsur adopts a so called ‘Safe Space’, a location where multiple entrepreneurs can start their business. A ‘Safe Space’ is a safe and central place where Kenyan teenage moms, whom are vulnerable and due to poverty become victim of exploitation and prostitution, can start their own restaurant. At the same time, the space, which is located in Kisumu, the main city in West Kenya, will be used by hairdressers and tailors.

Froconsur supports the Kenyan initiative for 18 months and will help the entrepreneurs both financially and by sharing experience and knowledge on how to set up a company. By this a unique situation will come into existence between the experienced organisation Froconsur and the young Kenyan ladies.

Due to limited possibilities of education and a high level of unemployment in developing countries, young adults often lack a prosperous perspective. As a result, they are vulnerable for criminality and exploitation. Entrepreneurship offers these young adults a good alternative. Child at Venture trains, finances and guides these young entrepreneurs with the help of the Dutch businesses.

Jamy Goewie, founder and director of Child at Venture: “With the slogan Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs we offer an exclusive process which is for both parties interesting, informative and unique. The professional party offers knowledge and experience by starting a business, while the young entrepreneurs experience themselves what it is to do business in a developing country on micro level. For the young entrepreneurs it is a great way to receive support from an existing company. We and the Kenyan entrepreneurs look forward to the cooperation with Froconsur”.

André Papa, director of Froconsur: “This form of support is concrete and direct and that appeals to us. To help young entrepreneurs to build up their own company is the way to work result driven and matches our method of working. We have chosen specifically for Kenya as we have existing business contacts with fishers of Lake Victoria and with this project we will contribute on a small-scale level.”

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21 July 2009

BLACK TIGER PRICES WILL BE HIGH THIS SEASON!

As we already forecasted for this year, black tiger prices are higher (in USD as previous years).

Main reasons are:
- a lot of farmers stopped growing shrimps and changed to rice again as it is less risky and giving more profit in the last few years.
- a lot of countries are focussing more on Vannamei instead of Black Tigers (Thailand, Indonesië, Malaysia). Reason is that the risk on Vannamei is lower and the profit better.
- typhoons in Bangladesh have destroyed a lot of ponds.

Especially the small sizes will be at very high prices this year. Main reason is that most farmers try to grow bigger shrimps in order not to compete with Vannamei (as Vannamei is mainly small sizes and far cheaper). When peak season starts (August) we can definitely supply to you the best seasonal prices for the big sizes (8/12 up to 16/20).

For the smaller sizes we have a very good alternative, being VANNAMEI of dark colour, packed at the same specifications as BLACK TIGERS. We can assure you rockbottom prices!

In case of interest for any further info, pictures, prices, etc., please contact us!!

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Froconsur B.V.