Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s rice exports in the second half of this year may miss the target due to serious shortage of labourers at seaports as a direct result of the new foreign workers law.

“Rice exports which were doing well, out of a sudden, hit with labour shortage, causing delay in delivery,” Thai media quoted Chukiat Opaswong, honorary president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, as saying on July 5.

According to him, the number of stevedores at the seaports has decreased by 30-40 percent since the new law was enforced.

As a result, it now takes about a month by average for rice to be loaded on a freighter, much longer than the time of 7-10 days earlier.

He said rice exporters are committed to shipping 900,000 tonnes of rice abroad each month in order to meet the export target of 10 million tonnes for this year.  However, due to the delay in delivery, he estimated that about 700,000-800,000 tonnes can be exported each month.

Chukiat noted that the strong baht and the volatility of the currency also impact on rice exports for the second half of the year in a way that it will make Thai rice less competitive compared to rice from competitors such as Vietnam.-VNA