Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) has waived store rent for the importers who will take delivery of their goods from the port yard during the country-wide lockdown and general holidays announced to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Containers transported by vessels which have already arrived or will arrive at the port during the lockdown and holidays will get 100 percent exemption from port store rent if the importers take delivery those containers amid the Covid-19 lockdown, said the CPA in a circular on Sunday.
The CPA came with the decision as a record number of containers are now stockpiled at the Chattogram port yard – due to limited delivery of imported goods during the lockdown.
The Chattogram port has a storage capacity of 49,018 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). However, its yard was cluttered with 45,063 TEUs on Sunday, the highest numbers of containers lying at the port yard, taking up to 92 percent of the storage capacity.
"We are encouraging the importers to take delivery of their goods from the port as our storage capacity is exceeding. This exemption has been announced so that the importers take the delivery of their goods during the lockdown and holidays," said Md Omar Faruk, secretary of CPA.
The government declared a countrywide lockdown and general holiday to curb the spread of coronavirus from March 26 to April 15. During the shutdown, the delivery from the port sharply falls to around 1,000-1,200 TEUs of its usual delivery of 4,000-4,200 TEUs per day. It is due to the shortage of goods carrying vehicles and limited taxation by Chattogram Custom House.
Earlier, shippers including Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) demanded exemption of all demurrage and other charges in the port as containers pile up in the port yard.
The CPA offers free storing of a 20-foot loaded container at port yard up to four days. When the four-day grace period expires, importers have to pay $6 for every 20-foot container, and $12 for every 40-foot container for each day till 20th day.
After that, it is $24 per day for a 20-foot container and the double for a 40-foot container as storage rent.
Mahabubul Alam, president of CCCI and Port Users' Forum said, "We wanted an exemption from all charges and demurrage during the lockdown as the importers cannot take delivery of their goods due to lack of goods carrying vehicles. However, we hail the decision and urge the government to ensure available goods carrying vehicles."