Bangladesh forms task force to clear export backlogs

In the wake of problems faced by the shippers in outbound container shipments from Chittagong, the government of Bangladesh has formed a task force. On 7th July, a meeting attended by shippers, shipping ministry officials, and other stakeholders including officials of Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) led to the formation of this task force. CPA had raised the request with the ministry of shipping to arrange a “common carrier agreement” among the shipping agents and the mainline operators (MLOs). CPA said that rather than providing a cargo plan to inland container depots, the arrangement should be made for the direct calling of ships to the final destination and avoid congestion at transshipment ports.

CPA further explained that the proposed arrangement will help to lower the export backlogs of laden containers lying at inland container depots. These laden containers are sitting ideal for a long period as they fail to find space both on feeder and mother vessels.

COO of Saif Maritime Ltd, Mohammed Abdullah Jahir, said that with the signing of the common carrier agreement, the MLOs will be able to use any vessel of the feeder operators. Additionally, the shippers will be permitted to use any alternative shipping lines rather than only using the designated ones. This will ultimately lead to optimum utilization of space on mother vessels.

The proposed task force will be manned by representatives from CPA, government, freight forwarders, export and import bodies and container depot association. Looking at the numbers it was found that many operators are having huge export bookings but due to unavailability of empty 40 feet containers, operators are failing to process the shipment.

The task force is expected to bring in flexibility in the inland container shipment so that the backlogs associated with export shipments could be cleared.

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