Published On:September 4 2007
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Port users threaten to stop using ICDs over cargo delay

Dhaka: Port users, mainly the readymade garment (RMG) sector, have threatened to stop using inland container depots (ICDs) for delays in handling of export cargo.

They aired the warning at a meeting Wednesday, where the port users discussed the unprecedented delay in cargo handling over the past few weeks by the ICDs.

The meeting was held at the Chittagong office of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

'We'll search for alternative or go to Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) for stuffing the export items unless the ICDs undertake pragmatic steps in expediting their services,' said ASM Abu Tayyeb, the first vice President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers' and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

He said his sector is experiencing an unexpected delay in handling of the export containers by the ICDs, which lack skilled manpower, and proper equipment and operators.

The exporters said that they had been incurring losses mainly on account of cancellation of orders by buyers.

Sources at the RMG and shipping sector said trucks, trailers and covered vans loaded with export items have to wait for three or four days on an average in front of the ICDs due to the delay in storing the export cargoes.

They said the garment units located in Dhaka and Savar are the worst victims of such delays in the country's dry ports.

The ICDs are taking twice the time for handling of cargo compared with that of Chittagong port, sources said.

But, sources at the private ICDs said they are currently passing through hard times in handling of containers because of congestion at the Chittagong port.

'Our supply chain has been slowed down considerably in recent times following congestion of containers at the Chittagong port. We can not send containers to the port timely as there is no space for them. The space earmarked for the export cargoes at the Chittagong port is experiencing severe congestion over the last few months,' said one senior official at Ishak Brothers at Chittagong.

He also said a letter has been sent to the CPA June 29 urging it to expedite its handling of cargo and create space for export items. The CPA is yet to give its response in this connection, he said.
Port sources said 13 ICDs in Chittagong are handling export cargoes over the last four years and their contribution to the country's export trade is more than 80 per cent.

Port sources also said only a few ICDs are equipped with modern facilities and adequate space for storing containers and offering other facilities relating to stuffing of export products.

Port officials also said recent higher growth of the RMG sector is also responsible for such a situation at the ICDs. The RMG export has grown 20 per cent over the last six months, sources claimed.
However, the BGMEA first vice President SM Abu Tayyeb said his organisation along with other port users have suggested a number of recommendations to the owners of ICDs for enhancing their services at Wednesday's meeting.

He said a large number of shipments had been cancelled due to delay at the ICDs and forced to send RMG products through air shipment.


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