The export value of Norwegian seafood has never been higher in a first quarter than in 2022, as reported by the Norwegian Seafood Council. Despite the difficult global trade situation, Norway exported seafood grew 22 per cent, compared with the same quarter last year, that is NOK 6.2 billion more than 2021, reaching a total value of NOK 34 billion. This record figure was achieved despite the lowest export volume since 2016.
Strong global demand vs. low export volume
“A strong global demand for Norwegian seafood yielded record export value in the first quarter. It is nevertheless a demanding time to be engaged in global trade. A month of war has resulted in complicated flows of goods and more expensive logistics. Nevertheless, the Norwegian exporters have in an impressive way managed to supply the world with sustainable seafood from Norway”, says Renate Larsen, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.
However, this increase in value has not been accompanied by an increase in export volumes and the cause has not been just the war and the tense world situation resulting from it. Other factors such as quota reductions, bad weather, and falling sea temperatures have combined to reduce export volumes of herring, mackerel and salmon. All this has led to the lowest export volumes since 2016.
March 2022, the all-time best single month
Even when January and February were two good months for Norwegian seafood exports, they were surpassed by March, which became the strongest single month ever, with an export value of NOK 12.4 billion, an increase of 13 per cent (NOK 1.5 billion) compared with the same month last year. The previous record for a single month was October 2021 with NOK 12.1 billion.
“The export value record must also be seen in connection with higher costs related to energy, fuel, shipping and other input factors for the capture and production of seafood in various parts of the value chain”, Larsen explains.
Changes in the flow of goods
In March, the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sanctions stemming from the state of war were coupled with the new pandemic situation in China in a way that not only affected the value and volume of exports but also the flow of goods. “Complicated logistics due to the closure of airspace over Russia and further closures due to increased krone infection rates in China have changed the flow of goods. In March, we see, among other things, that the EU quota is increasing”, says the CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.
As a result, while the share of seafood exports to Asia increased in the first two months of the year, it was lower in March. All in all, at the end of the first quarter, the USA was the largest growth market for Norwegian seafood, followed by France, and China in third place.