Thousands of tonnes of frozen Russian poultry is sitting in containers at Chinese ports – leading to some exporters cancelling further deliveries.
The delay has been sparked by the ongoing battle in China to bring the coronavirus outbreak under control.
The Russian newspaper Agroinvestor says exports of poultry are now to be slowed down in a bid to help clear the backlog.
Russia previously exported an estimated $143.4 million worth of poultry to China, amounting to some 62,600 tonnes, according to the Russian Agricultural Ministry.
However, after China opened up its market – due to an outbreak of African swine fever in the country – this jumped by some 65 per cent, to about $329 million last year, with Russian companies planning to expand their exports even more.
However, due to the coronavirus, a huge number of shipping containers containing the poultry have been held up at Chinese ports.
The crisis has also lead to a shortage of available electricity outlets at the ports into which refrigerator containers can be plugged.
Albert Davleyev, president of the Russian consulting agency Agrifood, told the newspaper that the situation was being created by the Chinese failure to move containers further down the food chain.
This, in turn, is costing money to both those importing the poultry and to the Russian exporters, leading to some of the biggest suppliers putting further deliveries on hold, he said.
Sergey Lakhtyukhov, chairman of the Russian union of poultry producers, said there were other reasons why China was producing fewer birds of its own.
These include internal trade re-strictions imposed as a result of the coronavirus, meaning Chinese farmers have limited access to feed – leading to mass cullings, he said.
He predicted that it could take up to two years for the poultry industry in China to recover.