Supply Chain Challenges | and their role in the Mud Crabs Trade
Mud crab is a high-value crustacean that is harvested in rural locations.
The demand for mud crabs is the highest in cities like Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, etc. Majority of the supplies originates from Indonesia, Philippines, India, and Vietnam. Mud crabs are transported via air freight to reach the consumers. The mud crabs are traded internationally, involving multiple parties to relay the goods efficiently after harvest. Unlike other seafood products, the mud crab needs to be transported and consumed alive. Mud crab is highly perishable, typical post-harvest mortality throughout the supply chain could achieve 30-40% in extreme cases resulting in substantial losses for traders. Factoring in transportation, handling, and import fees, mud crab prices can be inflated as they are moved from the farm to consumer. In this article, we will focus on the problems resulting in the mortality throughout the supply chain.
Mud crab is an aquatic species, hence requiring them to be submerged in water to survive. However, they have adapted to have the ability to venture out of the water for a period of time. This adaptation is useful as it enables them to move to another location should they encounter pools of water diluted by excessive rainfall. Nevertheless, this adaptation is exploited during transportation as traders send the crabs without water. This is done to maximize the weight of the crabs per volume of the shipment. In South East Asia, Styrofoam boxes are used to transport crabs where 95% of the total weight is the crab itself. Stark differences are observed in the live fish industry, where the fish must be transported with water. As a result, mortality throughout the fish supply chain is much lower than mud crabs. Furthermore, mud crab is commonly mistaken as land crabs instead of aquatic crabs. In some locations, the crabs are kept without water while the volume is aggregated.
Other factors that result in the mortality is throughout the supply chain is the duration of travel. In some extreme cases, the duration from harvest to end consumers can sometimes take 5-6 days. This is prevalent in exporting countries with weak logistics infrastructure. Generally, crabs are moved between countries using air freights, but the longest duration incurs