Page 1: Chicken Ban

Page 2: New Opportunities

Consumers in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will be relieved by the lifting of the ban on United States (U.S.) chicken imports amidst the widespread coronavirus, African swine fever and a recent avian flu outbreak at a chicken farm in Hunan province of the PRC. Chicken meat exporting from the U.S. southeast poultry production areas will meet strict procedures by MTC Logistics, based in Baltimore, Maryland, from its new Mobile, Alabama facility. The USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) expects a tremendous opportunity for years to come to serve the growing demand for alternative sources of animal-based protein in the PRC and other North Asia export markets, especially from rising middle class economies.

MTC Logistics is constructing a temperature-controlled distribution center at the Port of Mobile, AL.
MTC Logistics is constructing a temperature-controlled distribution center at the Port of Mobile, AL.

Breeding experts and scientists are experimenting with the culinary versatile chicken to be an essential supply of protein to an additional 2.4 billion people added to the global population by 2050. Disease resistant chickens using no antibiotics, efficient breeding with new genomic tools and biosecurity measures are some of the methods agribusiness executives are advancing. In fact, chicken requires less land to produce than beef and pork and is cheaper which is important to price and environmentally conscious consumers.

Chicken Ban

China banned American poultry products in 2015 after the onset of avian influenza (AI). In November 2019, China lifted the ban even though others lifted the ban two years ago. However, the deal was that, “if China followed all our rules and regulations, then China could export fully cooked poultry to the USA, then we could justify food safety,” stated Mr. Jim Sumner, President, USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, based in Stone Mountain, Georgia, in a recent telephone interview with the American Journal of Transportation. This quid pro quo deal could lead to sales of U.S. poultry of almost $2 billion to China, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The lifting of the ban will impact all regions of poultry production where the southeast dominates in the chicken agribusiness. Georgia is the number one producer in the U.S.A. and Alabama, Arkansas and Texas produce the most chickens with some in California. Turkey is produced in the upper Midwest and in North Carolina explained Sumner. He began working with USAPEEC thirty years ago after ten years in the dairy industry and director of the Pennsylvania department of agriculture for seven years.

Producers and logistics businesses will scale up shipments to the PRC at a rapid clip. “Once announced in November, ships were on the water by December. As of today, this week, 300 to 400 containers will go from the USA to China and will be a weekly basis,” said President Sumner. However, because of the coronavirus, ports are backed up and no workers are there to unload. Key U.S.A. ports laden with frozen chickens are Mobile, Alabama; Savannah, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana and rail lines going into Oakland, then off rails to container ships bound for China and North Asia chicken markets. In fact, Foster Farms in California was the first shipment in five years and is one of the 200 members of the USAPEEC which account for all U.S.A. companies in the poultry business.