CPA issued the order following approval of the Shipping Ministry on Monday
The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) has again offered apparel entrepreneurs a full exemption from payment of storage rent on imported containers till May 4.
The move comes as the Chittagong port reached its maximum storage capacity with release of containers slowing down amid the shutdown and limited customs assessment done by the Chittagong Customs House.
CPA issued the order following approval of the Shipping Ministry on Monday.
Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, CPA Secretary Md Omar Faruk said: “Storage rent has been waived fully for import containers brought in by BGMEA and BKMEA members on condition that they take their goods away by May 4. Hopefully, the waiver will encourage the importers to receive delivery of their goods and help decongest the port.”
This is the second time this month that apparel importers were offered such benefits in an effort to clear the country’s prime maritime port.
On April 5, the CPA waived the full store rent for containers that came after March 27 and were cleared by April 20.
However, the CPA withdrew the offer after April 20 after some importers took advantage of the waiver to use the port as a warehouse.
According to the existing rules, there is no storage rent for 20-foot loaded containers for the first four days.
Upon expiry of the four-day grace period, importers have to pay $6 for every 20-foot container and $12 for every 40-foot container for each day till 20th day.
After that, it is $24 per day for a 20-foot container and the double for a 40-foot container as storage rent.
The total storage capacity of Chittagong port is 49,018 TEUs. Of those, the number of containers brought in by the apparel entrepreneurs stands at 20,000 TEUs.
As of Tuesday, the number of fully loaded containers at the port yard has risen to 47,000 TEUs.
Usually, 4,000 import containers are delivered from the port every day. Some 2,500 containers were delivered on Tuesday, according to the CPA.
In conversation with the Dhaka Tribune, BGMEA Director Anjan Shekhar Das said they could not take advantage of the previous waiver due to multiple reasons.
“How can we take delivery of the import containers from the port if we cannot open the factories? Original documents are a must for consignment delivery. The original documents could not be delivered via courier services. Moreover, the foreign exchange banks resumed their activities on a limited scale,” the BGMEA director said.
“Besides, the taxation activities were on a limited scale at Chittagong Customs House. The importers have already begun to take delivery of the containers. The congestion at the port will ease up as the apparel factories reopened on a limited scale.”
Around 90% of the country’s export and import is done through the port, located by the estuary of the Karnaphuli River.