Apparel manufacturers have demanded cancellation of 35% hike in inland container depot (ICD) charges for import.
"Hiking off-dock charges without the approval of the shipping ministry tariff committee is completely illegal," Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) wrote to the depot owners on Sunday.
Following the fuel prices jumping to a historic high, the Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (Bicda) on 11 August raised the import container handling charges by 35%.
The association said it will soon decide on increasing charges in two other sectors, including handling of export cargo.
But on Saturday, BGMEA First Vice-President Syed Nazrul Islam sent a letter to the Bicda opposing the ICD hikes.
"As per the shipping ministry's ICD policy, the approval of the tariff committee is a must for any charge hike by the private off-docks. But the ICDs are unilaterally levying various charges on import containers without the approval of the committee, which is completely illegal," read the letter.
The letter mentions that private ICDs increased their charges by 23% without the approval of the committee in November last year, hurting the country's apparel sector immensely.
All the export items through Chattogram port are stuffed in containers at 19 private ICDs. Besides, 38 types of imported products including food are delivered from the off-docks.
Bicda Secretary General Ruhul Amin Shikder said the tariff committee did not readjust the off-dock charges, rather the ICDs hiked the charges on their own in line with the fuel price hike.