Thailand’s tuna canners haven’t seen growth in many major markets in recent months, but thanks to their access to MSC certified catch, they are fulfilling a strong and increasing demand among Australian buyers.
During the first four months of this year, canners in Thailand sent nearly 15,000 tons of canned tuna to the Australian market, a nine percent, or around 1,200 ton increase on the year before, according to Thai Customs stats.
A source in Bangkok confirmed to Atuna that this is due to the fact there is a rising volume of Pacifical MSC certified tuna from the PNA, making its way to Australian buyers, where the market is a strong forward mover in terms of sustainability.
It has been stated in the past that the country has the largest availability of sustainable canned tuna in the world, with 43 percent having a sustainability certification. Some of this volume is also supplied by MSC pole and line skipjack from the Maldives, and part of the market is also sourcing non-MSC pole and line tuna from Indonesia. John West Australia, the market leading brand, started selling Pacifical MSC certified skipjack from the PNA in 2016, which now commands at least 95 percent of its range.
The rise in volume reaching this market means that Australian buyers purchased the second largest quantity of canned tuna from Thailand during January to April this year, after US importers. However in the US, which is the biggest market for Thai canned tuna, purchases dropped by 10 percent year on year.
It was recently explained by Henk Brus of Pacifical that the Thai capital of Bangkok has become the leader in MSC certified tuna production, with around 55,000 tons of Pacifical MSC whole round catch delivered there in 2016. That number is expected to significantly surpass 75,000 tons this year.
The strength of the demand for certified product in the Australian end market is outlined not only by the rise in volume from Thailand, which has seen squeezed sales in other major destinations, but also by the heightened CFR prices paid. Australian importers concluded purchases at an average per ton CFR price of USD 4,957 during the four month period, one of the highest recorded among all Thai canned tuna export markets.
This intensified demand from buyers in Australia meant that this single market accounted for nearly 10 percent of all Thai canned tuna shipments from Jan-April, a strengthened proportion from eight percent of the total volume in the same period last year.