Container congestion feared as transport strike halts delivery at Ctg Port
The nationwide transport strike, triggered by increased diesel and kerosene prices, has put a block on container delivery at Chattogram Port from the private Inland Container Depots (ICD).
The delivery of imported goods at the port has been suspended since Friday morning.
The situation has given rise to concerns over container congestion at the port as well on-time delivery of export goods to foreign buyers.
At the same time, productions are feared to experience disruption since the raw materials are stuck at the port as well.
Kazi Mahmud Imam Bilu, joint general secretary of the C&F Agents Association, told The Business Standard that there will be 10-12 thousand containers stranded at the port if the strike continues on Sunday.
“Earlier the delivery of goods was halted due to various issues of transport workers,” he said adding that the country’s economy will be severely affected if these stagnations keep occurring one after another.
Chittagong Port Authority Secretary Md Omar Faruque said, “The unloading of goods from ships and the customs duty activities have not been affected yet.”
“However, it may see a negative impact in terms of the amount of bill of entry submission if the strike continues,” he added.
Meanwhile, export goods carrying containers from 19 private inland container depots (ICD) could not enter the port due to the strike. Usually, about 2,000 export containers enter the port every day. Although some vehicles entered the port on Friday, no vehicles entered on Saturday. This has created uncertainty about the export goods reaching their specified destination.
Ruhul Amin Sikder, secretary general of ICD owners’ organisation, said, “About 5,000 vehicles from 19 ICDs travel to the port every day for export, import and transporting empty containers from Chattogram port. Not a single vehicle came to the port till 11:30 am on Saturday.”
He added, “The container capacity of ICDs is 78,700 TEUs. As of Saturday, there were about 51,000 containers in the ICDs. If the strike prolongs for three to four days, the ICDs will be crowded.”
Syed Mohammad Arif, chairman of the Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association, said, “Ships cannot leave the port on time unless export containers arrive at the port’s hook point. Otherwise, the ships will leave the port without taking exporting goods. If a ship waits for more than a day, it will have to pay a fine of USD10- 12 thousand depending on the size.
“On the other hand, if the ship leaves without exporting goods, the goods cannot be delivered to foreign buyers within the fixed time. Exporters will have to face financial losses.”
Meanwhile, due to the transport strike, no vehicle carrying goods is entering Khatunganj, the country’s largest wholesale market either. Traders believe that if the strike continues, the price of goods may go up.
Azizul Haque, organising secretary of the Chattogram Pulses Mill Businessmen’s Association, said, “300 vehicles carrying goods enter the Khatunganj Chaktai market every day. On Friday, only 50 vehicles entered, while no vehicles entered on Saturday. With the supply in the warehouses, the market will be stable for two more days. If the situation does not change, the price of the product may go up.”