With the tropical cyclone Fani approaching, the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) has suspended port operations as shippers brace not only for the storm, but also the resulting backlog at the top Bangladesh gateway.
Loading and unloading activities at the ports of Mongla and Payra have also been suspended.
Chittagong — which suffers from a lack of container capacity, contributing to sporadic congestion even during good weather — ended operations 10 a.m. Thursday local time. More than 100 vessels were moved from jetties to outer anchorage.
The massive cyclone is expected to hit Bangladesh on Friday evening after making landfall in the Indian state of Odisha. Port officials said if the cyclone hits Bangladesh on Friday night, the port activities would not resume before Saturday, a 48-hour work suspension. The port handles approximately 8,000 TEU daily.
Mohammad Hatem, vice president of the Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB), told JOC.com the cylone will create a backlog of inbound and outgoing containers.
“I sent three trucks of goods to Chittagong port from Dhaka on Thursday. I am sure those were not unloaded today from trucks due to work suspension in off-docks and port,” he said.
Hatem, also managing director of M B Knit Fashion, further said due to the anticipated two-day disruption, goods will be delayed, wth some buyers forced to turn to costlier air transport to make their delivery schedules.