COOKING oil amounting to at least 81,000 litres bound for East Timor has been seized by authorities, the trade ministry said, as Indonesia seeks to enforce a ban on exports of crude palm oil and its derivatives including cooking oil.
At least eight shipping containers holding cooking oil and other items were confiscated at Tanjung Perak port on April 28 in Surabaya on Java island after “the ship deceived (authorities) by not listing cooking oil in the export declaration document,” the trade ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Those found guilty of breaching the cooking oil export ban could face a maximum of five years of prison and a fine of up to five billion rupiah (RM1.5mil), said Sihard Hadjopan Pohan, a director at the trade ministry.
Officials did not name the ship or the owner of the cargo.
Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil producer, has since late last month halted exports of crude palm oil and refined products in a bid to control soaring prices of cooking oil at home.
The export ban has rattled global vegetable oil markets that were already struggling after the war in Ukraine removed a big chunk of sunflower oil supply.
Palm oil makes up more than a third of the world’s vegetable oil market, while Indonesia accounts for around 60% of supply.
Chief economics minister Airlangga Hartarto has said the export ban would stay in place until bulk cooking oil prices drop to 14,000 rupiah (RM4.20) per litre across the country.
The current market price is at 16,600 rupiah per litre. — Reuters