In the past year, the pangasius market in Vietnam has faced many difficulties because of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as fluctuating freight routes, high freight and operating costs, and a sharp decrease in processing productivity due to a series of factories having to pause and moderate production. However, Vietnam’s pangasius exports still maintain the target as set out at the beginning of 2021, according to VASEP. Export markets are still expanding, and pangasius producers increase their competitive position compared to similar products.

Export turnover increased 

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), in the past year, pangasius processing and exporting enterprises have faced many challenges. The COVID-19 epidemic has caused pangasius production and processing factories to triple their costs for COVID testing as well as managing the “3-on-the-spot” production. In addition, businesses also face increasing logistics costs, lack of empty containers to deliver goods on time and on contract. However, up to this point, VASEP forecasts pangasius export turnover in 2021 is estimated at 1.54 billion USD, up 3% compared to 2020. 

To achieve this result, VASEP explained because the demand for pangasius in some major markets such as the US, Europe, and China have returned to a normal level. Among the major markets, China is still the largest import market for Vietnamese pangasius. After recovering in the second half of 2020, Vietnam’s pangasius exports to China began to increase again from March 2021. 

By the end of 2021, the Chinese market accounted for 28% of Vietnam’s pangasius imports. Pangasius importers said that the country’s freshwater fish prices in the first half of this year increased sharply. Weather affects China’s farmed production, so Vietnamese pangasius is still an attractive alternative seafood product. 

For the US market, the demand for pangasius has also begun to revive in the foodservice industry ever since the country’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic. The volume of pangasius imported into the US in the first quarter of 2021 doubled compared to the second quarter of 2020. In the third and fourth quarters of 2021, the US increased its imports of pangasius by nearly 50% and made a large offset for other markets that saw significant declines. 

Currently, this market accounts for 22% and demand has increased sharply after the vaccination campaign and economic recovery package. VASEP forecasts that pangasius exports to the US market will continue to increase because the demand from this market is still largely due to a decrease in US domestic production and high prices of seafood in the US. 

In addition, pangasius exports forecast is expected to continue to grow thanks to the FTAs that continue to be a lever for trade promotion to many markets, especially potential small markets such as Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Colombia, Thailand… 

Source: VASEP