A big company like Hapag-Lloyd has declared that it will not take any booking for Bangladesh-bound ships via Singapore till July. They will accept booking for Colombo. This is a major problem because if we do not get containers, it will hamper exports. The crisis has increased the shipping time by around two weeks, raising concerns over our time-sensitive business.
We import a lot of raw materials from different countries, including China. Those nations are also facing similar problems related to shipping. We are not getting the materials in due time. There has been a delay of around 10 days. So, the entire chain is facing a delay of three to four weeks.
Due to the crisis, the shipping fare increased by two to four times. We pay the fare at times of import.
But in the case of exports, buyers pay the fare. They adjust the money while setting the prices of our products. So, the whole thing impacts our business.
Hapag Lloyd said the crisis would continue till the end of July. The recent crisis in the Suez Canal, where movements of ships remained stalled for around one week, might be another reason for the problem.
The prices of raw materials have increased too. So, everyone is going through challenges. No one has any control over the situation. We hope the crisis will be over soon with the cooperation of everyone involved.
If we import products by air to cut short the time, we have to appoint someone to find the containers and pay him for that. Sometimes it takes days to find the containers. Sometimes the boxes are broken due to mishandling, and sometimes they get damaged in rain.
Against this backdrop, we have to count mounting losses, let alone make profits.
In order to get a remedy, we have to remove bureaucratic tangles and stop mismanagement at the ports. A certain syndicate is trying to control the ports in different ways.
These are the reasons our performance in terms of ease of doing business is poor. That in turn tarnishes the country's image. You cannot measure it by money. If people related to freight forward hear the name of Chattogram Port, they get concerned.
Such a perception does not fit well with the overall progress of the country.