Bangladesh Inland Container Depot Association (Bicda) Thursday said it cannot cancel the recent 23% hike in cargo handling charges.
"No service sector in the country is in a position to assimilate the diesel price hike into their operational expenses by giving subsidy in this post Covid period and the private off-docks are no exception," said Bicda President Nurul Qayyum Khan in a letter replying to Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association's demand for withdrawing the increased tariff.
On Wednesday, shipping agent association chairman sent a letter to Bicda, requesting them to cancel the 23% increase in charges for handling containers, which came into effect following the recent diesel price hike.
"Bicda would like to stress the point that the 23% increase in the five charges of the private inland container depots is inevitable and there is no way the ICDs are in a position to withdraw this increase. We hope all the concerned stakeholders will consider this with a more pragmatic and realistic view in the greater interest of the overall development and progressive economy of the country," said Bicda.
The letter said, "As per the section 11.2 of ICD policy and international regulation, the shipping ministry will form a committee to fix all off-dock tariffs. Representatives from National Board of Revenue, CPA, ICD/CFS and users of private ICD/CFS will be in the committee. The committee will fix the tariff which will come into effect after the shipping ministry's approval."
Shipping agents termed the Bicda's measure for raising the cargo handling charges a violation of the ICD regulations.
"There is no tariff committee for any private service sector in our country. Is there any tariff committee for container-carrying commercial trailer operators, or truck operators or covered van operators?" asked Bicda President Nurul Qayyum Khan in reply.
"When the trucking cost has increased by Tk950 crore for diesel price hike, has it been increased through a tariff committee? When freight charges of the shipping lines increased by 500% to 600% since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, has it been done by any tariff committee? Has there been a tariff committee for the shipping agents or the freight forwarders of the country? When the logistics cost increases by thousands of crores of taka in any service sector, nobody talks about any tariff committee," said Bicda president.
"But when a comparatively much smaller amount gets adjusted by the most vital sector like the private ICDs for a valid reason, the question of the tariff committee comes to the fore," he added.