CHITTAGONG: Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) leaders Wednesday lamented that Chittagong seaport is sailing back to the turbulent situation like 1/11 through eroding its efficiency in container handling by 50 percent.
The leaders of the apex body of the country’s export industry at a meeting with Chittagong Port Authority also demanded explanation from the CPA Chairman over a published news on the imposition of surcharge by foreign ship owners.
Admitting a 10 percent decline in the efficiency in container handling, Chairman Commodore RU Ahmed assured of solving the problem within a week.
He also alleged “a certain quarter is making propaganda on the imposition surcharge to tarnish the image of the government”.
BGMEA leader Mahbub Ali said previously berth operators took 2-3 days for unloading goods from a small ship (LCL Feeder), but now it takes 10-12 days.
Giving an example he said three ships-SS Triumph, MV Hansa Commodore and MV Ocean—with the consignments of Azim Group reached the port on May 16, but delivery of the consignment could not be started yet.
Director of BGMEA Liakat Ali Chowdhury said a deadlock has been created in the port because of equipment shortage, wasting time by the operators in delivery work and some other bottlenecks.
“Due to this reason, we cannot make the shipment of our foreign orders in time and the garment factory owners are incurring huge losses with the huge stock lots of their products,” he told the meeting.
The port Chairman said previously 450 Tues container were handled daily but now 410 to 415 Tues are being handled.
“Although the handling competence declined by 8-10 percent in the port, but there is no congestion of ships or containers existing here. We have scarcity of equipment, but I’m hopeful about resolving the problem within a week,” he pleaded.
He informed as per the High Court order a tender was floated on May 17 to recruit private berth operators for the port.
Director of the Chittagong Port (Operation) Hadi Hossain Babul, Secretary Sayed M Farhad Uddin, Directors of BGMEA Kafiluddin Mahmud and Hasanuzzaman Chowdhury were present at the meeting.
Under the Port Renovation Programme, the previous caretaker government had recruited private berth operators in 13 general cargo berths without offering any tender in order to unload containers. Earlier, the work used to be done under the port’s own management
BDST: 3:45 Hrs, May 26,2010