Shippers at the Bangladeshi port of Chittagong are now permitted to change the import general manifest of containers in order to speed the movement of their cargo, port authorities said.
The move allows importers to take delivery of containers from the port yard at Chittagong and send them to Dhaka and elsewhere via road or waterway, in addition to train. The change comes as an increasing number of containers meant to be sent by train to the Dhaka Inland Container Depot are getting stranded at Chittagong, sometimes for weeks.
“So, we invited importers to take delivery of ICD-bound containers from [the] port yard to avoid delay and demurrage,” Enamul Karim, traffic director of the Chittagong Port Authority, told JOC.com, adding importers would need to change the import general manifest of the containers.
There is capacity for storing 876 TEU of ICD-bound containers at Chittagong port, but that number reached almost 2,000 after the work slowdown during the Eid holiday in mid-June. That came after a cyclone in early May halted port operations for three days.
Roughly 1,200 TEU of ICD-bound containers were at Chittagong’s port yard on Tuesday, and that number climbs each day with a fresh batch of imports.
Port officials said three trains leave Chittagong each day bound for the Dhaka ICD, usually carrying a total of 120 to 160 TEU daily. Lately, though, that number has fallen to about 100 TEU due to a cut in the allocation of train wagons.
Alamgir Hossain, an importer of electronic goods from China, welcomed the decision to allow importers to carry their containers at will. Hossain said a permanent policy needs to be enacted that would allow importers to change the IGM and carry containers by alternative methods if need be.
“Many of our ICD-bound containers remained stuck at port yard for weeks and we are counting demurrage and financial loss,” he told JOC.com.