Political protests in Bangladesh are causing lengthy delays for inbound and outbound shipments via Chittagong, the country’s busiest gateway hub port, according to reports from Dhaka.
Opposition political groups in Bangladesh have been staging a “road-rail-waterway blockade” campaign for the past month over issues concerning general elections in the country. The protests, spearheaded by an 18-member political consortium, became increasingly violent in recent weeks, resulting in the death of some 100 people.
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“With this prolonged road and rail blockade program, cargo/container (gate in/out) movements are restricted on the streets, while delivery from both port and off docks is affected heavily, which will eventually create severe yard and berthing congestion in the coming weeks,” Singapore-based liner APL said in a notice to customers.
APL said intermodal rail services between Chittagong and the main inland container depot at Dhaka have been suspended by local authorities amid vandalism fears, crippling Dhaka-bound import deliveries and congesting port yards.
Chittagong Port moves around 90 percent of Bangladesh’s total seaborne trade. Cargo volume in 2012 totaled 41.9 million tons, down 2.8 percent year-over-year, with the number of ship calls at the port falling from 2,248 to 1,875.