The Chattogram sea port, main gateway of the country is in full swing operation during the ongoing lockdown in Corona virus epidemic and Eid holidays.
According to port sources, all operational activities including container handling, storage, delivery, and cargo handling are going on as usual during the Eid holidays. However, due to the closure of importers’ offices in some sectors in the lockdown, the volume of goods delivery has been slightly less than usual.
On Friday, the Eid day, 3313 TEUS (Twenty Equivalent Unit) containers were handled in the port but no container was delivered outside the port. Since the start of lockdown in the first week of April around 3500-4000 TEUS containers are delivered every day. At the same time around 6000 TEUS of containers have been loading and unloading at the ships on average every day.
Mohammad Omar Faruq, secretary of Ctg Port Authority (CPA) said, all sorts of steps have been taken including engagement of adequate manpower for import and export work of goods. As per the decision of the port authorities, adequate number of manpower and equipment have been kept ready in the private Inland Container Depot (ICD) known as offdocks, for other times than the stipulated 8 hours.”
All staff relevant to operation are on duty and rest of the manpower of other departments is working under a new schedule set in lockdown, he added.
The security of the port has been enhanced during the Eid holidays. The port security branch has taken necessary steps to ensure an adequate lock system in each container. In addition, the banks’ booths located in the one-stop service inside the port are being kept open for banking activities.
Chattogram Customs House has taken necessary steps to keep the customs officials on duty for customs clearance of goods which have been exported and imported through the Ctg port. All concerned including C&F Agent, Shipping Agent Office and Freight Forwarders are working.
Fakhrul Alam, Commissioner of Chattogram Customs House said, “There were no problems in the customs duty collection and delivery of port goods during the epidemic and the Eid holidays. All measures have been taken to keep import and export activities normal.
Port source said, in light of the last year's epidemic lockdown experience, several new steps were taken to prevent any disruption in port operations.
Many importers' offices are closed in lockdown and they are unable to take delivery of goods from the port. At the same time, many containers belonging to private depots are also kept in the port yard. This year the port authorities had earlier urged the private ICDs to remove their goods and containers in time.
Several containers have already piled up in the port yard due to low delivery of some goods due to lockdown, which is slowly reducing the capacity of the yard.
The number of containers piled up on Sunday was about 40,000 TUs, while the capacity of the port yard was about 50,000 TUs.
Mohammad Omar Faruq, secretary of CPA said, “As per the rules, many containers are supposed to be stored in a private ICD where they are taxed by the revenue department. But the ICDs do not take container delivery on time unless the importer is active.
Currently, there are 18 private ICDs, which handle all export containers and some 23 percent of import containers of the country.
In a recent meeting, the Ctg port authorities decided that more containers should be transferred to ICDs from the port to ease business while 20-25 more ICDs should be set up in the country as the volume of exports has been rising over the years.
The CPA on April 14 informed the Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association, Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Chattogram Customs House, requesting them to take necessary steps in this regard.