The country's leading Readymade Garment (RMG) export sector which has just started recovering from the pandemic is at the highest risk due to the closure of transport.
Industry owners said that if this situation is prolonged, there could be a big crisis in all export-oriented sectors of the country, including the garment industry.
Large obstacles are being created in the delivery of goods as trucks, cargo vans and covered vans are out of plying on the road. This is having a negative impact on the garment industry.
Buyers are likely to find alternative sources, if there are uncertainties in delivery within stipulated time. Considering these aspects, the leaders of BGMEA and BKMEA, the two top organisations in the garment industry, urged the government to resolve the issue immediately with the help of covered vans and transport stakeholders.
Leaders of the Bangladesh Truck-Covered Van, Tanklorry Prime Mover Owners' Coordinating Council informed that the fare has not been adjusted despite the sudden rise in fuel prices. If the fare is not increased, they will not take the transports on the road.
According to them, the government has suddenly increased the toll of Bangabandhu Bridge and Moktarpur Bridge from 257 percent to 300 percent without any discussion with the owners' association. On the other hand, the price of fuel oil was increased again. Transportation will be closed indefinitely until these issues are resolved.
Leaders of BGMEA and BKMEA say that after almost a year and a half, the garment industry has just turned around. Now the work order is going on massively, buyers have started coming back.
In this situation, if trucks, cargo vans and covered vans are suddenly stopped, there will be a big damage in the delivery of goods. Buyers will be forced to move to other countries if they do not deliver on time. The garment industry will face a big loss.
Vice-President of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Mohammad Hatem told Bangladesh Post, “The readymade garment sector has just started to recover from the pandemic. It will incur great losses due to the transport strike.”
“We exported apparel worth USD 4,727 million last month. Therefore, the export of apparel worth USD 157 million is being hampered every day due to the strike,” he added.
He mentioned that due to the fuel price hike, the supply cost of raw materials will also increase further.
“This is not the right time to increase fuel prices as the people of the country have just started to recover from the losses incurred during the pandemic. We would like to urge the government to withdraw the increased fuel price and at least keep it stable for the next one year,” he said.
Industrial economist Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem told Bangladesh Post, “This sudden transport strike is likely to increase some additional costs for the production sector. This will lead towards a price hike situation. Only changing the government situation can tackle any untoward situations.”
“If we look at our past, we would see Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) had also given subsidies. If the government organization can handle the present unstable situation with its profits, the situation will improve immediately,” he added.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister, and Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader on Friday said that a meeting of the BRTA's fare rescheduling committee would be held on Sunday. The meeting will try to keep the increased pressure on the people at a tolerable level through realistic price adjustment by discussing with the concerned stakeholders.