Some 7,700 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers, imported from different countries, are waiting for auction in Chattogram port.
The TEU containers contain fruits, electronics, various types of fabrics, garments accessories, chemicals, hardware, paper and paper material, garments accessories, steel products, ceramic items and a variety of other products.
The TEUs, 382 cars and 5,000 tonnes of products imported through bulk cargo will be placed on auction.
On June 30, Chattogram Custom House will hold the auction of products of 200 containers.
Commissioner of Chattogram Custom House Mohammad Fakhrul Alam said, "The Covid-19 situation has become a barrier in auctioning of goods stuck in the port. Everything is stalled at present. However, even in such a situation, the auction will be held on June 30."
Chattogram Port Secretary Md Omar Faruque told The Business Standard, "The 7,700 TEU containers; 5,000 tonnes of products arrived through bulk cargo and 382 cars are eligible for the auction."
If the importers do not take delivery of the imported goods after a specific time and process, they are sent to the Chattogram Custom House authorities for auction, he added.
"The auction is under the jurisdiction of the Custom House. However, the port operation is hampered as a large part of the port yard is filled with such large containers," he added.
The yards at Chattogram port can accommodate around 49,018 (TEUs) containers.
The importers get 30 days to take delivery of the containers after unloading from the ships.
By this time, if they do not take delivery of the containers, the customs department notifies the importer. And if the container is still not delivered within the next 15 days after the notice, the customs authorities may put it up for auction.
Besides, the products which are seized for false declaration can also be auctioned. But products that have expired or are prohibited are usually destroyed.
According to sources at Chattogram Customs, one or more auctions are held every month. However, due to the Covid-19 situation, the auction process was halted.
And the number of containers eligible for auction continues to increase. In many cases, the process of handing over the goods that are stuck is continued even after the auction if the importer of the goods files a writ petition at the high court.
Farid Al Mamun, deputy commissioner of the auction branch of Chattogram Customs House, told The Business Standard that the catalogue preparation is underway.
"So far 174 catalogues have been made. These catalogues contain products of around 200 containers. There is also a car. This auction includes fresh fruits, frozen meat, garment accessories, various types of textiles, chemicals, electronic goods, paper and paper products, hardware, textile machinery, among others," he said.
He further said that there will be tender boxes in the offices of the Revenue Officer (Administration) of the Chattogram Customs House, office of the deputy commissioner and joint commissioner (Headquarters), Customs Excise and VAT Commissionerate (Dhaka South), for participating in the auction.
The auction box of Chittagong Customs House and the tender box in Dhaka VAT Commissionerate office will be opened simultaneously.