Strike paralyzes Bangladesh container transport

Strike paralyzes Bangladesh container transport

A busy street in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Above: A busy street in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

Transport workers and employers on Sunday morning began a 48-hour strike across the country Sunday, halting several thousand containers at Chittagong port and the supporting 19 inland container depots (ICDs) in a fight against new safety legislation.

Transport workers and owners are protesting an amendment to the Road Transport Act that holds them largely responsible for any fatal road accidents. Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Sunday ruled out any possibility of bringing amendment to the act immediately and called upon the transport workers and owners to withdraw the strike.

Secretary to the Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA) Ruhul Amin Biplob told JOC.com no truck entered or exited the ICDs Sunday due to the strike. Transport to and from the depots and port also remained totally suspended, he said.

Some 3,500 trucks enter the ICDs daily with export cargoes, mainly from apparel factories. At the same period roughly 1,200 to 1,400 trucks exit the ICDs carrying imported goods, which are mainly raw materials for manufacturing units.

Another 2,000 TEU export containers and 1,000 TEU empty containers enter the Chittagong port from the ICDs. Plus, about 2,500 import and empty containers are sent daily to the ICDs from the port for delivering to the importers.

Chittogong Port Terminal manager Golam Mohd Sarwarul Islam said on Sunday evening some 32,000 full containerload (FCL) containers were stored at the port yard, waiting to go outside. Of them, approximately 2,000 FCL containers were ICD bound.

Manufacturers are at dire straits due to the strike and “we are at [a] collapsed situation,” said Mohammad Hatem, vice president of Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB).

“Even we are failing to bring some accessories from [the] airport to the factories. We brought those by air to save time, but the strike now [causes a] delay,” said Hatem, also the managing director of MB Knit Fashion said.