Canned crab meat exporter sees revenues returning to pre-pandemic levels

A manufacturer of export-quality pasteurized canned blue swimming crab meat aims revenues returning to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year as the demand ramps up after exports slowed down due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“We are slowly getting there now so hopefully, by the end of the year,” Saravia Blue Crab Inc. administrative manager Pamela Jalandoni said.

Jalandoni said the company targets to again ship to the United States at least two containers a month from just eight to 10 containers for the whole year in 2020, after it did not export for about four to five months.

“And we are also looking at other markets, maybe Europe or other Asian countries,” she said.

To survive and thrive during the pandemic, Jalandoni said the company aims to tap other countries where it is not so difficult to ship its products.

“We always had the orders, (but) we couldn’t fulfill them. One (reason) was the pandemic, we all had to shut down and then now, the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), GCQ (general community quarantine) so it is difficult for us to move products or to move our supplies. So it has been a challenge especially the supply side and the packaging materials, it is hard to procure them also now,” she added.

Jalandoni said the firm also has domestic market clients in Visayas and Luzon.

“We have these institutional buyers,” she said.

Jalandoni likewise lamented the high cost of shipping goods from the country that had tripled just a few months ago.

“Ocean freight now is really expensive, the amount is exorbitant and that’s our biggest concern at the moment. I don’t know what (the) government can do to help us with that, maybe talk to the other agencies to figure out (how) to help us,” she said.

Apart from addressing the high shipping costs, Jalandoni said the government can provide assistance to exporters who face difficulties as a result of enforcing value-added tax (VAT) on exporters.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued Revenue Regulation (RR) 9-2021 imposing 12-percent VAT on goods and services that were previously taxed at zero percent. The new regulation came into effect on June 27, 2021.

“It was a big help with zero VAT so if it is possible for the government to assist exporters with that. That’s already a big help plus financial assistance and loan to keep us moving,” she added.

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