Prices moved north, and buyers were supportive. However, uncertainty surrounds the tea auction planned for next week at the Coimbatore centre, as the trade is yet to receive the necessary permission from the district administration for opening of the warehouses and broker offices.
In the absence of the permission, arrivals cannot be unloaded at the warehouses, buyers will not be able to lift the teas from the warehouses, and brokers will not be able to draw samples for distribution among buyers for future sale, explained an industry source, emphasising the need for permission to open the warehouses and broker offices.
“The tea trade centres in Kochi and Coonoor have the necessary permissions, albeit with some conditions. We have also sought permission from the DIC to restart operations. Some exporters have received permission to operate,” the source said.
Meanwhile, sale no 13 started on a positive note with buyers absorbing over 91 per cent of the teas on offer, and the average price being up by ₹12 to ₹15 a kg compared to the last sold prices.
It was learnt that the buyers could not lift the teas from the warehouses here for the payments made on March 18. “Sale is happening, but (is) still in a disruptive stage,” said a leading exporter.
Highlighting some pain-points, which his staff faced, he said, “We have been permitted to operate two shifts, but the staff is reluctant to stay beyond 3 pm as there is restricted movement after 1 pm and they (the staff) fear seizure of their vehicles, despite production of pass. The ground reality is very different.”
A cross section of tea exporters that this correspondent spoke to said that containers had started moving, but the problem was with documentation. “Exports are subject to approval of samples. So, there is no issue as samples are couriered, but when it is a domestic sale, the documents are not accepted as they are not considered essential commodity. Similarly, as packaging units are not permitted to operate, some industry players are stuck.”