Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) have expressed serious concern over the strike by clearing and forwarding (C&F) agents at Chittagong Customs House.
The strike was stirred by a an order issued by the Chittagong Port authorities, making it mandatory for the C&F agents to carry out duty assessment of all the containers in a shipment, together with the customs.
The order was issued as the authorities felt that separate assessment of containers of the same consignment can cause irregularities.
The leaders of the Chittagong Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association and other C&F agents termed this order as impractical and went on strike on April 2, seeking immediate withdrawal of the order.
Altaf Hossain Bachchu, General Secretary of the Chittagong Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association said that at times a consignment has up to 50 containers, and due to lack of adequate number of private container carriers, it is just not possible to obtain delivery of all containers together.
The C&F agents have stopped submitting any bill-of-entry documents for exports and imports. They have announced continuation of the strike until the order is not taken back.
This situation has raised the concerns of garment producers in Bangladesh.
According to BGMEA and BKMEA, if the strike continues it would delay consignments, and further hit the domestic apparel industry which is already finding it difficult to sustain its profitability in the wake of continued power and gas crisis.
BGMEA and BKMEA have called upon the Government to immediately take steps to reinstate smooth functioning at the Chittagong Port and to ensure unhampered flow of exports.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India