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B'desh shifts garment import handling to private depots
Jan '12
To get rid of container congestion at Bangladesh's largest seaport – the Chittagong port – the task of handling all containers of imports made by garment manufacturers has been passed on to private depots.

There are 19 private inland container depots within the 20 km radius of the Chittagong port which handled 413,000 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) of containers and 35,000 TEUs of empty containers in 2011.

The private depots are owned by leading business groups in Bangladesh including the Essac Brothers, KDS, Port Link and Summit.

It was in 2006, that the Government first allowed the private depots to handle import of nine items. Subsequently in 2010, the Government added eight more import items to the list to facilitate trade and avoid congestion at the busy port.

Imports by garment producers in the country account for over 16 percent of total imports by Bangladesh in a year, estimated at more than 100,000 TEUs. The shifting of this cargo to private depots would mean that the depots will handle the containers from the hook point of ships.

Speaking to fibre2fashion, Mr. Golam Sarwar, Director -Traffic Department, Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) said, “Previously the Chittagong port handled all the import-export of garment manufacturers. But now, since the exports have highly increased we need private depots for container handling. Chittagong port has shifted all the import handling, especially the empty containers to the private depots.”

Commenting on the decision, Md. Shafiul Islam, President - Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), says, “The Government's decision would definitely help the CPA to reduce container congestion because the port does not have enough facilities for handling the US$ 18 billion garment export industry and many other industries like food grains. This is a new idea that we will be experiencing.”

“The private entrepreneurs have proved that they are successful and there will not be any bureaucratic hurdles while dealing with them. I believe that they can handle container imports better than the Government, but money will remain a big factor. We will have to be watchful to ascertain that they are not charging more for handling our import containers.”

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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