Goods releasing activities at the country's prime seaport, Chattogram Port, saw a major disruption in the last three days as the Customs House there failed to clear bills of entries owing to a slowdown of the customs server.
During the period, customs officials faced disruptions in logging into their accounts on ASYCUDA WORLD, the computerised system for administering the country's customs.
"We faced the problem during the daytime on Thursday. However, our officials could work that night (for a while). The disruption continued on Saturday," Mohammad Salahuddin Rizvi, deputy commissioner at the House, told The Business Standard.
He, however, was hopeful that the issue would be fixed within Sunday.
Meanwhile, Chattogram Port-based clearing and forwarding (C&F) agents said they were incurring losses due to the delay in the release of goods.
"We faced financial losses due mainly to the disruption caused by the server. Many of our agents had to return after a daylong wait," Kazi Mahmud Imam Bilu, general-secretary of the Chattogram Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association, told TBS.
Usually, about 7,000 bills of entry are being submitted to the Customs House every day, while 5,000 are on exports and 2,000 on imports. Importers are the main sufferers of the delay.
"I submitted 7 bills of entry on Thursday for paying customs but I was refused as the server was not working. The bills were not processed even on Friday and Saturday," said Rashedul Alam, a C&F agent.
"We were supposed to get our goods released by last Friday. As we failed, we have to count fine now," he added.
Echoing Rashedul, many others also said their losses would grow big if the problem prolonged.
According to the Chattogram Port, importers can keep their containers at the port yard for four days free of cost. Afterwards, they need to pay a store-rent of $6 for a 20 foot-equivalent container per day in the first week and $12 per day in the second week.
To avoid such fines due to the server fault, the C&F agents urged authorities concerned to resolve the issue anyhow by Sunday.