The Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) has introduced an Electronic Delivery Order (EDO) system for the delivery of imported goods, making the whole process faster and hassle-free.
After paying tariff on imported items, importers can avail EDO from shipping agents or freight forwarders to take delivery of goods under the system that was implemented on 1 April.
This will reduce a day's work to 5 to 10 minutes, said officials.
"Although shipping lines issue 100% EDO, the rate is slightly lower for freight forwarders. However, gradually all delivery orders will come under EDO," said Omar Farooq, secretary of Chattogram Port Authority.
Six shipping companies were initially tasked with issuing EDOs on a trial basis from December last year. The shipping companies were MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company Bangladesh Ltd, APL Bangladesh (Pvt) Ltd., Maersk Bangladesh Ltd, Continental Traders BD Ltd, Continental Traders, and Ocean International Ltd. This electronic delivery system has been made mandatory for all shipping companies from April 1.
The Chattogram Port Authority has created a separate portal for the EDO system called the Port Community System, which is managed on the Terminal Operating System (TOS). C&F agents, shipping agents, and freight forwarders involved in product delivery, have login access to the portal.
The C&F agent on behalf of the importer will apply for EDO by logging in to this portal after the goods have landed at the port yard. This information will also be communicated to the shipping line and freight forwarder by the C&F agent. The shipping agent will then collect the fee and send it to the C&F agent and freight forwarder. Likewise, freight forwarders will collect their charges and upload that information to the portal.
Previously, C&F agents collected delivery orders from the shipping line office in person. Under the new system when an EDO is issued from the shipping line office it will be automatically forwarded to the port, freight forwarder, and C&F agent.
"There are now two options for taking delivery. Hopefully everyone will adapt quickly to this system," said Ajmir Hossain Chowdhury, head of operations and logistics, at Mediterranean Shipping Company.
"We need to update on two systems now – once in the port system, then in the shipping line system. We appreciate that," he added.
According to port data, some 4,000-4,500 TEUS containers are delivered daily from Chattogram port. On 1 April, 4,573 containers were delivered. On 10 April, 3025 containers were delivered.
According to Chattogram port sources, after the trial run from December 2021 to 5 April, some 48,000 online delivery order applications were received. On an average, about 1,333 applications are received every day.
The capacity of the port was 49,018 TEUS and there were 36,951 TEUS containers in the port yard till 8 am on 10 April.
About 8,000 trucks, covered vans and lorries enter the port every day to take delivery of goods. On 15 September last year, the port authorities introduced a digital process of collecting vehicle entry fees at the port. The Business Standard (TBS) on 15 August ran a story on the development with the title –Entry fee collection at Ctg port going digital.
Rear Admiral M Shahjahan, chairman, Chattogram Port Authority, told TBS that transparency and accountability in port delivery activities will increase with the implementation of the EDO system.
"The stakeholders concerned will be able to do the work online without having to visit the offices in person. Working hours will be reduced and this system will prevent illegal transactions and fraudulent deliveries," he added.