Bangladesh exporters are unable to get their goods out of the country via the Port of Chittagong, the country’s busiest port, after trucking companies refused to deliver goods because of vandalism fears, according to reports.
No containers were moved out of the port’s 16 inland container depots and no trucks from Bangladesh factories were allowed into the facilities, as a political shutdown led by the opposition party dragged into a second day, according to The Daily Star, quoting the Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association. The countrywide political protest, or hartal, has already led to at least 65 people being injured, according to the Bangladeshi English-language newspaper.
“There were many hartals in the nineties but never have we seen goods-laden trucks on the highways being attacked, as it is happening nowadays,” said Syed Sagir Ahmed, general secretary of Khatunganj Trade and Industry Association.
Bangladesh has become a prime supplier of garments to the world, largely because labor costs have risen in China, the top international supplier. The recent supply chain disruptions, along with a series of fatal factory accidents, could spur shippers to shift some of their sourcing to other Southeast Asian countries, such as Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Bangladesh’s competitive labor edge took a hit on Nov. 4, after the government-appointed board recommended nearly doubling the minimum wage, according to The New York Times. The board is pushing to raise the monthly minimum wage to $68 from $38. The country’s Labor Ministry has final say on whether the hike will be imposed.