It takes around six to seven days to take delivery of imported consignments from the private ICDs compared to only two days from the port, says BGMEA
In a bid to save time and costs, garment manufacturers and exporters have requested the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) to permit releasing imported goods directly from the port instead of through private inland container depots.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan made the call during a meeting with M Shahjahan, chairman of the CPA, in Chittagong on Tuesday.
Hassan said that it takes around six to seven days at present to take delivery of imported consignments from the private inland container depots (ICDs) compared to only two days from the port, which increases the cost of releasing goods.
“Moreover, the private ICD operators are charging higher fees and taking more time than the port for releasing goods,” he added.
Hassan also said that the additional delay and charges are impacting the apparel sector at a time when the sector is struggling to turn around from the shocks created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hoping that apparel exports will increase in the coming months, the BGMEA president urged the port authority to plan ahead and take necessary steps to enhance the capacity and efficiency of the port so that they can handle the increased pressure of trade.
Syed Nazrul Islam, first vice-president of the BGMEA, urged the CPA to make export-import activities quicker and timely to retain the competitiveness of the Bangladeshi apparel industry in the global market during this difficult time.
In his speech, CPA Chairman M Shahjahan said that the RMG industry has been making enormous contributions to the economic development of Bangladesh.
“The CPA is carrying out export-import activities quickly and efficiently despite having various limitations,” he added.
He also presented CPA's plans and initiatives for infrastructural development and increasing efficiency of the port at the meeting.
According to the BGMEA, the meeting with CPA was a part of its continuous efforts to ensure smooth flow of export-import shipment.
The apparel association has also held several meetings with stakeholders, including main-line operators (MLO) and buyers' representatives in this regard.
Earlier, the BGMEA sent a letter to the Commissioner of Chittagong Customs House on August 12 stating that releasing of goods from ICDs costs 65% more and takes twice as long compared to direct release.
The total cost of releasing a 20-feet container from Chittagong port is Tk4,277 but the cost of unloading the same-sized container from the private ICDs is Tk13,755, which is Tk9,478 more than the port, said the BGMEA.
Moreover, the cost of unloading 40-feet containers from the port is Tk5,988 which is Tk18,092 at private ICDs and it costs Tk12,104.
The NBR allowed releasing of all types of imported goods from July 25 to August 31 from ICDs as well as port due to the container congestion created by the pandemic and lockdown.
The BGMEA feared that the time frame might be extended after the directives expire on August 31 and said that it will be irrational as there is no need to send imported raw materials to private ICDs if there is no congestion.