Export-import hampered as transport strike halts goods delivery at Ctg port
If the strike continues, the port will become congested with containers,” CPA Secretary Omar Faruque says
The nationwide transport strike triggered by sudden hike of diesel and kerosene prices adversely affected the Chattogram port’s export-import activities – at a time when businesses are working for the recovery from the impact of Covid-19.The delivery of imported goods at the port has been suspended since Friday morning, and port officials and businessmen fear a terrible container congestion if the strike persists.”
If the strike continues, the port will become congested with containers,” said Omar Faruque, Secretary of Chattogram Port Authority, adding that operations of the port will be severely disrupted.Businessmen and leaders termed the strike illegal and threatening to the ready-made garment (RMG) as well as other export-import sectors.According to the Chattogram Port Authority (CPA), the capacity of container handling is 49,018 TEUs (Twenty-foot equivalent unit) and needs 15% empty space for smooth operation. The number of containers lying at the port was 34,738 TEUs till 8am on Thursday.In the last 24 hours, the port received 3,416 TEUs imported containers and shipped 3,709 TEUs containers, including some empty ones.From the port, 80% of the total containers are transported to different parts of the country by road, 18% by sea and only 4% by the railways.
Everyday 8,000-8,500 transports have entered the port to load their deliveries.On Friday, the port handled 1000-1,500 TEUs of containers while it will have to handle 3000-4000 TUEs containers on Saturday, said CPA Secretary Omar Faruque.Businessmen said the strike will create gridlock in traffic and a disruption to the schedule for deliveries of imported goods.Citing that the RMG sector specifically badly affected by the transport strike, BGMEA First Vice President, Syed Nazrul Islam, told The Business Standard “The sector is just starting to turn back after taking the blow of Covid-19.”The shipment of exported goods which are already waiting at the port would be halted if the strike continues for an additional one or two days, he added.Nazrul said, “Exporters would have to wait another week if they miss the shipment schedule of their goods. For that, buyers would likely demand air shipment or price reduction.
“Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) termed the overnight decision for goods transport strike as unfair for the country’s export-import sector.”Due to the price hike of diesel, the transport owners can give an ultimatum for three to five days,” M Mahbubul Alam, president of CCCI, opined.All delivery activities in the port remain halted as the transport owners’ halted goods transportation, without any consultation, Mahbubul, also the chairman of M Alam group, added.Besides, Bangladesh Truck-Covered Van, Tank Lorry and Prime Movers Owners and Workers Coordination Council went on an indefinite transport strike as the government moved to increase fuel prices along with the toll for Bangabandhu and Muktarpur bridges add the misery of the Covid-19-ravaged transport sector.On Dhaka-Chattogram or any other route, the fare for covered vans at Tk19,500 while prime movers at Tk21,000. After the fuel price hike, it will increase to Tk2200-2500 respectively, said Chowdhury Jafar Ahmed, director general of Bangladesh Covered Van, Truck and Prime Mover Transport Owner Association.Everyday around 20,000 goods-loading transports are entering and leaving the city, he added.He also said the strike will continue until withdrawal of the fuel prices along with the toll for Bangabandhu and Muktarpur bridges.