At different gates of Chattogram port, there had been long queues of covered vans, lorries and trucks, waiting to take delivery of goods from the port. This created a long tailback from Barek Building Mor to Airport Road from Thursday morning.
A large number of containers had been stuck at Chattogram port due to the novel coronavirus crisis in the last one month. But the port has in the last few days returned to normal.
Chattogram Port Authority Secretary Omar Faruk said 4,000-4,500 containers per day are delivered from the port in normal times, and currently the port has been doing the same.
Urging importers and related organisations to maintain their normal activities, Faruk said, "Responding to businessmen's appeals, we have waived store rents amounting to Tk138 crore."
The Chattogram Port Authority has waived all store rents for the containers at the port till May 4 to clear congestion. Along with that, the National Board of Revenue has decided to have all goods moved to private inland container depots.
The port authority has also resumed all its activities and sent letters to importers, clearing and forwarding agents and the Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CCCI), directing them to take delivery of the goods which are essential during the month Ramadan.
Khaled Mahmud Chowdhury, state minister for shipping, has also visited Chattogram port to observe the situation there.
Sources at Chattogram port said 4,242 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers were delivered in the 24 hours till 8am on April 30, and 4,440 TEUs of containers were delivered in the 24 hours till 8am on April 29.
As a result of different initiatives taken by the authority, the delivery of containers at the port increased gradually during the last week. 2,239 containers were delivered on April 25, 2,714 on April 26, 2,793 on April 27 and 2,753 on April 28.
CCCI President Mahbubul Alam has thanked the port authority for waiving the store rents considering the current situation. He has also urged importers to keep up the speed of transaction at the port.
In the course of the current lockdown across the country, the volume of delivery from the port came down to 1,000 TEUs of containers per day.
On April 30, there were 45,265 containers at the port, which was 15,000 TEUs more than the port's capacity.
Secretary of the Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA) Ruhul Amin Sikder said, "So far 8,500 containers have been transferred after the port authority ordered that containers be moved from the port's yard to depots. There is still space for 21,000 containers at 19 inland container depots."