Market Updates for April 2, 2021

Section Type

Dairy | Eggs

Large - Down

Medium - Down

Small - Down

Retail demand mixed. Supplies of extra large and large well balanced and held confidently. Market steady to full steady.

 

 

Dairy | Butter

Butter- Up

Cream inventories are continuing to tighten as ice cream production starts to compete for raw material and hits it's production stride. Retail sales show signs of decline, but overall are still healthy. With restaurants reopening food service distributors are still coming back to the buying table, but orders are still below expectations. 

Dairy | Cheese

Barrel -Up

Block -Up

The CME Block market responded to the governments release of another billion dollars in the USDA Box program.  Speculators feel this will have an effect on the markets for the short term but will not be sustainable for the long term.

 

 

Meat | Pork

Slaughter this week is down, not as low as expected. High prices are incentivizing producers and plants to pull hogs ahead. 

Bone in butt prices moved lower to start the week and increased later in the week. Boneless butts prices continued to increase as demand and labor issues in the plants are driving the prices. Spare and back ribs continue higher this week based on export and retail demand and loin prices are flat this week. 

Belly prices continue to run up with high demand and low inventory in the freezer. Breakfast sausage is competing with bacon and both items continue to push the other's price higher. Trimming prices reached record highs last week and it is very early in the year for the demand to push prices this high.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meat | Beef

Weather-related issues both with producers and consumers have the boxed beef market in an interesting position. Harvest was down 100K last week from the average weekly runs all due to weather-related issues. The excess market-ready cattle will need to be pushed to production over the next few weeks increasing supply during a time when we historically experience reduced demand before the spring grilling season. We have yet to see the market react due to short boxed beef, but it will come soon and probably be a good portion of March as prices are too high for this time of year and increased supply will push prices lower. Middle meats have performed well on retail ads, however, high prices will put pressure on ad placements at retail and foodservice will follow. Look for opportunities on middle meats over the next few weeks. Grinds took a big dive after Super Bowl but are now up again due to short supply caused by last week’s weather events. Expect to see some softness until later into March. End cuts should come off some over the next few weeks and stay lower through most of the spring. Expect lower levels as we move into March. Thin meats and briskets should see good demand and higher prices as we move into March. There are still many large customers shopping brisket packages for the spring business.

Poultry | Chicken

The chicken market has remained extremely tight and we are continuing to see many items increasing in price.  With the high prices you would expect the processors to be happy, but there just seems to be such a shortage of product it is making if difficult for them to celebrate.  The production numbers have remained flat from last week, but we are still running below where we were at last year during this time when Covid was in full force.  Now we are running the same production numbers and have much stronger demand.  The total production remained at 166 million head and remained with 54% coming in the larger weight ranges.  This is pretty much a repeat of the previous week from total numbers and weights.  While many would like to see the numbers increase the birds are just not there right now to make that happen.  This reduction in total production has helped push prices up on the breast market this week.  In order to get product you had to pay over the market.  The wing market remains in short supply and we are now hearing of wing sales over the $3/lb mark.  You may hear of Tenders being in balance, but there certainly is not any excess availability out there.  We are also seeing a strengthening in the boneless dark meat market as well.  The bone in dark meat for export appears to have leveled off for now.            

Breast and Tenders:

The Jumbo Breast Meat market gained $.07/lb this week to hit $.1.60/lb for the week.  The select  and medium markets were also able to clime some with the medium market also at a $.07/lb increase to $1.75/lb and the Select up $.07/lb as well to $2.26/lb.  Line run Breast Tenders have continued to hold at $1.83/lb with no changes again this week.      

Wings:

The shortage of wings on the market has kept all sizes at their record highs.  The Jumbo whole wings are at $2.66/lb, medium whole wings remained at $2.64/lb and small wings at $2.73/lb.  Everyone is waiting for product to become available at these levels, but it just can not be found out there.                       

Seafood | Finfish

Cod, Alaskan 1x:

Per Undercurrent News:  The North Pacific Fishery Management Council announced that it had increased the 2021 TAC for Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska to 17,321 MT, allowing for a small directed fishery this year.  For the next two years, scientists have also advised acceptable biological catches for Pacific cod in the gulf of 23,627 t and 38,141 t in 2021 and 2022 respectively.  This is worth noting as TAC levels can only be set equal to or below the levels of  ABC's recommended by scientists.  Note the Groundfish Forum this last fall also stated that the global catches would decline by 7.8% to 365,000t led by a decline in US and Canadian landings from 160,0000 to 119,000 t  which based on voume alone have a bigger impact on the fishery.   With that said , to date the cod catches have been limited in Alaska and costs have been rising. Increased COVID cases resulted in plant shut downs for 14 days which also affected the  start of the pollock season then carried over to the cod fishery as well. Mandatory quarantine has really impacted the supply putting pressure on costs  for the 1x frozen market.  Expect prices to be elevated until the fall and new season supply.  * 

Cod, Atlantic 1x:

Russian cod is also bearing the weight of the reduction of cod out of Alaska.  Currently the large 16-32 oz fillets have been short on the market and the next best option will be the 8/16 oz.  Expect costs and supply for larger sizes to be an issue for the next few months   For cod out of Canada the 6 oz option will be short as the season wrapped up early with limited catches of this size.  Costs are stable currently. *  From Seafood Source :  Note a major announcement this week on the closure of the 3P zone in Newfoundland  by the DFO (Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans ) that is located off the southern coast of the province.  The Fish Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW), Atlantic Groundfish Council (AGC), and the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) – which represent thousands of employees in the fishing industry in Canada –  have announced opposition to the potential closure of Newfoundland, Canada’s 3P fishery, located off the southern coast of the province that represents at best 40-50 % of the raw material for processing in key plants.  Earlier this week, the FFAW called on Canadian Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard Bernadette Jordan to reject recommendations to close the fishery, citing the thousands of jobs it would cost and the lack of evidence that a closure is necessary. According to the union, current Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) assessments found that the biomass index increased and mortality has been at low levels due to reduced quotas in the area. After the Groundfish Advisory Council meeting this year, the AGC recommended that the total allowable catch for cod stay the same level as the previous season – at a level 55 percent lower than prior years. At the time, the AGC said, there were no indications that the DFO might go as far as closing the fishery entirely.  “We know 3Ps cod is in the critical zone. We also know we have prioritized the long-term health of this stock in our recommendations year after year. It’s a principle we will never waiver from,” AGC Executive Director Kris Vascotto said. “But the science doesn’t support the need to close the fishery. Knowing that and knowing how many people and families depend on this for their livelihoods, we just couldn’t participate in bilateral discussions with France, intended to achieve an agreement to close the fishery, on the basis of the scientific evidence presented and without fulsome discussion with those most impacted by a decision.” *

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Cod, Atlantic 2x:

Pricing has risen as raw material has become tight, causing production facilities to have to wait which has caused order delays.   This in conjunction with added freight costs has increased costs overall.  To further amplify this problem we have continued to see increased port congestion once orders arrive in the US causing an additional 2-6 week delay on getting product received.   *

Cod, Pacific 2x:

The same issue as  presented for the Atlantic 2x cod has been mirrored in the P cod costs as well.  The lack of raw material out of Alaska  to Asia due to reduced quotas, increase COVID cases , barge fires etc. will continue to impact supply until the B season resumes this summer  That and short supply of raw material in Asia currently for processing, delayed containers and increased cost of freight have driven this item up in cost. For now product is short at elevated costs for both 8/16 and 16/32.  *

Pollock, Atlantic 1x:

Since the onset of the A season for Pollock in January the market has been in flux.  Coming off a deficit of supply in the fall B season many anticipated  the A season to be able to aid in product.  From the onset most processors were forced to shut down due to COVID for 14 days.  Since the length of this season is relatively short the catch has been limited.  Many are scrambling to fill orders as Lent and FS sales have caused an increased demand far and above what was anticipated due to closures.  Until the B season resumes this summer, product will remain very short with  the larger 4/6 oz product being under more duress.    Prices will be elevated.  *

Pollock, Pacific 2x:

We have seen delays on pollock being shipped as raw material on the larges sizes has become tight which has caused pricing to rise by 10%-15% since last year. Raw material will remain short through the summer. * 

Haddock:

We have seen an increase in pricing and delay on orders as large quantities of haddock that  have been detained in bonded warehouses. Now that the Dalian port is stating to recover slowly  ,  the cold storage facilities are also gradually opening up . It's estimated that it will still take some time for the raw material of COD and Haddock to be picked up from storage for further processing on Asia, resulting in large scale varieties (8-10, 10-12, 12-16) being short. This has affected many different packers and their ability to ship product. Costs are firming.*

Domestic Lake Fish:

As we await the quota announcement from the Lake Erie Committee at the end of March the expectation is that the yellow lake  perch will have another 20 % decrease. Contrarily the walleye is also expected to increase by that much as well.  Perch availability is short and will remain short however we have been able to remain in stock of the Michigan sizes. Ohio sizes are extremely short with almost none being offered . Fishing for White fish will begin in June however we do not foresee issues on supply getting through to the new season. Blue gill out of China is currently the only option to domestic and Limson has supply on these as well to get our customers through Lent.  White perch is still very short and we are seeing limited quantities offered however we are good on inventory currently. As for the smelt items - we are  back in stock on the dressed. We have some battered however the supply will continue to be short. Due to the small quantity of smelt available it has been difficult for the processors to get a time slot at the plants in order to batter the product causing a delay in getting battered smelt to us.*

Euro Lake Fish & Zander:

The 20-40 g zander is very short on the market and costs have increased.  Most of the volumes of Zander come out of Kazakhstan and Russia where the main sizes are 4 oz and up.  Therefore the smaller 2-4 oz zander are very hard to find,   To help preserve the resource they are also not allowed to catch large volumes of the smaller fish as it can deplete the stock.  Costs on this size have risen as we work to find added resources.  For the rest of the zander and euro lake perch supply is adequate for a moderate demand.  Costs are stable *

Mahi Mahi:

The late 2020 / 2021 fall season of mahi got off to a very slow start.  While most fishing began in October the landings were minimal and what was processed had gone mainly to the fresh market.  Larger fish were harder to come by and complete orders have been harder to fill as landings out of both Peru and Ecuador have been slow with reduced catches and landings.  Costs are elevated over 2019/20 and expect these levels to increase just to secure supply as the cost for the raw material has risen sharply.  As the season wraps up in S America the next option is product out of Taiwan for 1x fz. product.  AS the Taiwanese watch the markets out of S America we expect prices to be firm across the board.  *

Frozen Tuna, Swordfish :

Vietnam – Prices have gone up and are currently firming.. Landings should start at full season levels in late March/Early April. Indonesia –Landings have started and, as with Vietnam, landings should get even better in April. SWORDFISH Asia – Being a bycatch of Tuna, Sword is the same story as Asian Tuna currently and in Ecuador – The boats are retooling from the Mahi season. The landings have not yet been determined.  *

Swai:

For 2020  the pangasius  export value was quite conservative due to the impact of COVID-19. We expect 2021 to be a better year for the pangasius industry overall.  Raw material pricing is expected to be higher in 2021 due to higher farming cost with the continuous feed price increases.   Supply volume  also dropped in early 2021 and is expected to last in the coming months as many farmers found it challenging to sustain the business with high farming costs and a low selling price. In addition major  disruptions in pollock, cod and haddock  processing from China has reduced double-frozen volume to the E.U. and the U.S. therefore  reducing fish supply overall adding pressure on the cheaper fish option with swai . *  

Tilapia:

The tilapia facilities have been gradually ramping up post Chinese New Year as workers return to the plants, which often is slow.  Currently the plants are working on backlog orders to try and catch up.  The  raw material costs are expected to rise over the next few weeks as a result of erratic supply and cold weather impacting  other  parts of China. This results in people from nearby regions to go to Hainan to try to secure raw material from there as that region is warmer.  Container shortages remain,  but that is gradually getting better.  Freight rates are expected to stay high compared to pre-pandemic averages as shipping line delays and delays/backlogs at ports (Asia, US, Europe) continue to be an issue.  The shipping line delays and port backlogs are expected to continue to gradually improve as virus cases reduce, but we do not expect shipping lines to reduce freight rates very quickly. For now our costs are stable on current supply.  *

Seafood | Shrimp

Imported Black Tiger:

Production out of Indonesia has been slow and steady without any major shut downs. The packers are backed up with excessive orders(for over 6 months in most cases) and most buyers have experienced extensive shipment delays causing current shrimp shortages in the US. Indonesia will continue to struggle through late 2020 when their season starts in Dec. However, they are expected to continue shipping at a steady pace. Vietnam has been able to help take the pressure off some but is also starting to see raw material shortages on certain sizes. 

Imported White:

The situation is no better in the U.S. market for shrimp, as many exporters from India said their shipping schedules have been affected by tepid demand caused by cold weather conditions. The changes in shipping schedules have caused cargoes to take longer to arrive to their destinations, prompting foreign buyers to delay payments.  India's seafood processors may not be able to fulfill their production targets due to raw material shortages resulting from a decline in fishing and yields. India exported nearly 1.29 million metric tons (MT) of seafood, with a value of USD 6.4 billion (EUR 5.4 billion), during the 2019-2020 fiscal year. However, MPEDA has not set any business targets in the last two years. Low shrimp prices between 2017 and 2019, and a decline in exports to the E.U. in 2018 and 2019 have hampered the seafood sector's growth.  The decline was clear last year as India shipped 595,169 MT of seafood products between April and October, down 24 percent year-on-year. The associated value dropped by 16 percent to USD 3.28 billion (EUR 2.76 billion). Exporters are hoping demand from China will recover after the country's long Lunar New Year holiday. Additionally, a jump in vannamei shrimp prices by around 10 to 15 percent due to a global shortages may encourage farming to expand.  Prices in India increased this week for some counts. Andhra Pradesh is already stocking widely, and stocking is also expected to pick up in Gujarat as the problem of acquiring quality PL’s is being resolved. In Ecuador, HOSO prices continue to show some upticks for larger sizes of shrimp, and farmers are encouraged to stock more due to these improvements. Prices for Pacific white shrimp in Vietnam also rise steadily after the Tet holidays are concluded. Meanwhile in Indonesia, prices showed no movement, and availability of raw material is expected to become more stable as the weather conditions improve.*

 

Latin White:

Prices have firmed due to limited supply with in the market. 

Domestic White & Brown:

Gulf HDLS Brown and White: We are seeing the Texas boats cycling back from their New Year's trip, reporting 3-4bx/night of brown tails, predominantly 16/20-31/35ct.  Ok for this time of the year but not great given fuel prices they  are escalating rapidly. Boat pricing is  firm and relatively steady.    As boats come in now most will tie up for spring maintenance.  Larger white production for hdls  is also winding  down.  We expect it will be pretty quiet on hdls production for April/May. When large white shrimp production starts in June  things can escalate quickly.*

Domestic PUD:

Peeled:  There is  Finally  a decent packout of small  white peeled at Gulf  Crown on 70/90 and smaller.  For right now these packouts will be hit and miss.  .  As spring weather makes it's way to the gulf we should see more small boats moving around.*  

Domestic Rock & Pink:

 

Rock-No production, no boats targeting, no existing inventory.  We may see a couple of small pack outs from the incidental catch in the spring, but the real season starts in July.  Last year was poor for rock; hopefully this year will be the opposite.  We encourage the use of 70/90 PINK P&D 10/5 Key Treasure as a good alternative.  Very good eating, cheaper, more consistent supply. Key West Pink HDLS:  production just ok, and prices sky-high:  (.75-1.50 over gulf browns).*

Seafood | Lobster

Per Seafood News:  NOAA announced its proposed modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan on December 30.NOAA said it is looking to “further reduce the impacts of entanglement in fishing gear on right whales in U.S. waters.” The modifications are focused on the Northeast Jonah crab and lobster trap/pot fisheries, which are responsible for roughly 93 percent of the buoy lines fished in areas where right whales appear. According to NOAA, the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team will be asked to recommend risk reduction measures for other Atlantic trap/pot and gillnet fisheries in 2021.

 

 

North Atlantic:

Due to the late start of the season and poor weather, the catch from the Nova Scotia season was limited. Fishing has wrapped up and most processors are limiting production until the spring season in May.  Demand for lobsters has increased with restaurant openings and the market is extremely tight and expected to remain firm until spring.  There is expected to be a limited supply on all sizes of tails and meat going forward, especially the CK Broken and CKL.  

Warm Water:

The market for prime size tails continues to exhibit some strength as of late. Market values at the season open fell to multi-year lows; reaching a point that seems to have created demand in the pandemic environment. Since then, the addition of tropical activity in some producing countries, and residual damage, have yielded a  firmer market.  As of today Limson has supply on all sizes as supply dwindles and costs continue to rise 

Seafood | Crab

The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game announced the 2020/2021 crab quotas .  Mostly the results confirmed industry expectations, although snow crab increases were lower than hoped.For red king crab, the precarious nature of the stock has led to a cut of 1.15 million lbs, which is 30% below the 3.8 million pounds quota set in 2019.The stock has been on a long term decline, and earlier management strategies would have completely closed the fishery.  However, in recent years ADF&G has revised some of the thresholds, so that a weak recruitment leads to lower harvest levels, but not a shut down of the entire fishery.With conservative management, the stock is neither overfished nor subject to overfishing. The allowable biological catch has declined from 6 million lbs in 2019 to 3.54 million lbs in 2020, with the TAC set well below this level at 2.648 million lbs.Russian catches of red king crab are stable, and the loss of 1.15 million pounds in Alaska quota should continue the trend of high king crab demand and pricing.For snow crab, the 2019 Alaska harvest was 34 million lbs., with a biomass projected at 368 million lbs.  Snow crab recruitment is very strong, and the projection biomass for 2020 was to grow to 610.2 million lbs, a 66% increase.However, due to the pandemic no crab trawl surveys were conducted this summer, so the TAC was set based on a continuation of trends identified in 2019. For this reason, ADF&G was more conservative increasing the TAC than the projected biomass might call for, with a 32% increase to 45 million lbs. in 2020.There will also be a small Bairdi or tanner crab fishery this year west of longitude 166 of 2.348 million lbs.  Again, there was no survey, but there has been considerable revisions to the Bairdi crab models in the last few years, and the current ABC matches that of 2017-18, when the fishery was last opened.The snow crab announcement is generally looked upon as an important market indicator for the coming year.This year, snow crab has been one of the top selling seafood products, so much so that unlike many fisheries which have seen lower values in the pandemic due to the cutback in foodservice demand, snow  crab is currently oversold, and back up to record price levels.

Snow Crab:

The 2021 Canadian snow crab season has begun in zone 23/24 (Nova Scotia) and the first loads are starting to arrive in Boston.  This is at least 2 weeks earlier than normal.  We expect most other fishing areas in Canada to follow the same pattern and open earlier than usual.  The stakeholders are all pushing to get the snow crab fisheries opened as early as possible this year so they can get the quota out of the water as quickly as possible and avoid any potential entanglement issues with the endangered Atlantic right whales.  We expect to see peak Canadian production by late April. As of right now, there is not enough snow crab being produced to satisfy the current robust demand.  As a result, we are only able to offer LTL shipments to try to fill as many supply gaps as we can.  As production ramps up and more zones come on line, we will be able to offer full truckload quantities again.  Overall, we feel that the Canadian quota will be close to the same as 2020 +/- 5%.  Zone 12 (Gulf) is likely down 26%, but there will be an offsetting increase expected in Newfoundland. It should be noted that we expect the size distribution this year will be smaller than in the past.  These quota changes certainly do not help as the Gulf typically produces more of the large sizes and Newfoundland typically produces less large crab, but there are also indications that the snow crab in both Newfoundland and the Gulf are also running smaller than usual this year. Snow crab demand has been surprisingly strong in the past year, despite the lack of demand from casinos, cruise lines and other buffet restaurants, who have mostly been shuttered.  As things start to open up again and people start going out to eat in restaurants again, we expect that demand will remain strong.  It is too early to predict prices, but we will definitely not see the low prices that we saw during the season last year that allowed retail to promote it so heavily.  Higher prices will lead to lower demand from retail, but it seems that foodservice is poised to pick up the slack. 

 

 

 

King Crab:

As we move into fall we  find some of the most important  king  crab fisheries.  The Russian Far East, Barents Sea, and then the Alaska Red king crab seasons.  Russia will be harvesting over 26,000 M/t and supplying the Asia live market as well as the processed markets in Japan, Asia, and the U.S. With the closure or curtailment of most food service operations and on line ordering, seafood marketers this year have been challenged to find other ways to move the product.  Not many carryout restaurants serve king crab or snow crab so retail is the market of choice. The level of support at retail supermarkets and club stores for king crab and snow crab has been remarkable.  Product flew through the system and we found that 69,268,393 lbs of Canadian snow crab alone was imported during the three month period of May through July!  King crab volumes of course are much lower but also gained significant support from retail. For now costs on all sizes (Reds and Golds) have been firm and are expected to remain so through the holiday season.  Russian King Crab: The market for both red and golden Russian crab remains full steady; supplies are light for a moderate to active demand. Some still higher offers are noted. Inventories remain thin and higher priced replacement product is reported to be putting upward pricing on the market.

Red Swimming Crab:
Blue Swimming Crab:

Seafood | Scallops

For 2021 the quota has been reduced from 52 million lbs down to 40 million pounds and another 20 % reduction YOY.   As landings fall off we expect to see more imports this season out  of the preferred areas of Peru and Japan while China exports wane in comparison due to the current tariffs.  Sizes for the 2020 season were heavier on the smaller 30-40 and 40-50 ct sizes.  For the 2021 season we expect fewer of the larger sizes in the U10 's and  10-20 ct ranges.  .  Large scallops will be short at increased costs and there is expected abundance of smaller sizes. As the vaccines become more available , more restaurants open with added capacity we expect the 2021 season demand for scallops to be strong overall *

Chinese Flounder and Ocean Perch:

China production plants are still running at reduced volume (70%) as there is still a lack of demand around the world because of the Covid-19 impact. 

Seafood | Salmon

Imports of frozen Atlantic fillets increased when compared to the previous month 1.4 percent. In addition, on a YTD basis, imports are 25.3 percent higher. Imports from Chile increased 32.8 percent from the previous month and remains now 20.2 percent higher on a YTD basis. Imports from Norway decreased 38 percent compared to the previous month but continues to see a 20.8 percent increase on a YTD basis. We must mention that we assume this HS code includes frozen portions.

Norwegian Salmon:

The Norwegian Salmon industry has been operating during the pandemic, and although volume is down the pricing affected the large fish (6+ Kg) the most as this was for Asian markets. The food service industry has been heavily impacted as we know, but retail business picked up a lot of this volume and as such kept harvesting and production moving.   With a mild winter, less harvesting in  early spring we would think that we will see more volume pushed towards late summer and/or fall which normally will lead to pressure on prices, and more than the usual fall pressure. Prices are supposed to move up a bit based on FishPool, but we are not sure this will be the case as there is a large number of fish still in the water. Sea lice is becoming a bigger issue with warmer water and faster growth, so that could mean more small fish being harvested which again can affect future harvesting this fall.    But the biggest question remains  the exchange rate into the fall as the USD is getting weaker and weaker.  Note per Undercurrent News :  Norwegian salmon spot prices are likely to be volatile from week to week over the next month or so as harvest volumes are expected to rise year over year.  Many expect the harvest profile for 2021 to be similar to 2020 with little growth the first half of the year with more fish during the second half.  However supply growth next year is supposed to be negative for Chile during the second half of the year.  Smolt released for harvest during the latter part of 2021 is down 26% y o y with only two more months left in the release period.    Per Undercurrent News:  Norwegian growth is expected to pick up next year, expecting Norway's Atlantic Salmon production volumes to rise by 4.2% in 2021, exceeding a national production of 1.4 million MT.  As pf late spot prices for Norwegian farmed salmon climbed to their highest levels since the fall in week 52 of 2020 according to the NASDAQ Salmon index.  The index has prices rising by 7.7% week on week in NOK terms.  This is a 9.1% increase over the past four weeks in NOK terms. 

Chilean Salmon:

As supply has become more available  a massive drop in foodservice demand as the COVID-19 pandemic widens,  has prompted mass closings of bars and restaurants and caused US salmon prices to fall, not rise.  While US foodservice demand for salmon had diminished some, the picture is not all gloomy, as the retail sector has been booming and has taken up some of the slack.    Note however even with the issues being reported government officials do not feel that this will affect production in Chile as they have been monitoring this closely at the plant level for some time and this industry is considered to be essential.