Launching a direct shipping route from Chattogram port to the Port of Koper in Slovenia can significantly increase the volume of readymade garments exported from Bangladesh to Europe, said the RMG exporters.
Besides, the time needed for transporting goods from Bangladesh to the European countries will decrease by 15-20 days if the Chattogram-Koper route is launched, said the leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at a meeting with the Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) and a delegation from the Koper port.
The meeting of the representatives of the two ports and the BGMEA was held at the Chattogram Port Building to examine the possibility of a direct shipping route from Chattogram port to the Port of Koper on Tuesday.
At the event, Borut Semrl, manager (sales) at Port of Koper, said the port in Slovenia is associated with Hinterland Container Market, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Serbia.
CPA Rear Admiral M Shahjahan said the Port of Koper can assist Bangladeshi exporters to deliver goods to East European and Central European countries.
"We will be able to deliver the cargo in 15-20 days through this route. This will reduce freight charges and decrease shipping time, which will benefit our traders. The country will also be economically prosperous," he said.
At the event, BGMEA First Vice President Sayed Nazrul Islam said, "Bangladesh exported RMG goods worth $69.90 during FY21 and $101.74 during FY22 to Slovenia. We believe that the Chattogram port and the Port of Koper in Slovenia will continue this venture of mutual relationship and strengthen our trade relationship in future."
He said about $31.45 billion RMG products have been exported in FY21. As of May in FY22, the export amounted to $38.52 billion.
Sayed Nazrul further said, "Various transshipment ports are facing congestion troubles, but our enthusiastic port chairman has taken tremendous steps to arrange direct vessels from Chattogram port to the European ports."
"As a result, shipping cost and time are becoming competitive. Foreign buyers and our exporters are now becoming interested in using these direct vessels."
Mitja Dujc, commercial director at Port of Koper, Miha Groznik, honorary consul at Consulate of Bangladesh in Slovenia, Kabir Ahmed, president of Bangladesh Freight Forwarder Association (BAFFA), Khairul Alam Sujan, vice president of BAFFA, and senior BGMEA officials were present at the meeting.
On behalf of the CPA, its members (Administration and Planning) Md Zafar Alam, Director (Traffic) Enamul Karim, Deputy Conservator Capt Faridul Alam, Acting Secretary Md Nasir Uddin and other senior officials participated in the meeting.
Currently, container ships from Chattogram go to transshipment ports such as Malaysia's Tanjung Pelepas or Klang, Singapore, Colombo or China before heading towards the European countries. The export consignments reach the destination via base ports such as Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg in Europe. The entire journey takes around 40 days.
On 7 February this year, the first direct shipping from Chattogram port commenced, introducing the Chattogram-Italy route. On 20 May, the London-based freight forwarder Allseas Global Logistics launched the Chattogram-Rotterdam-Liverpool route. Direct shipping with the Netherlands began in early June.
Direct shipping to Europe slash the time to 20 days, while freight cost will also be reduced by 20%-30%.