The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industries (FBCCI) has called on the authorities to increase the capacity of Chittagong port in the interest of greater trade and commerce in the country.
"Increasing the capacity of Chittagong port will reduce the cost of doing business in the country by at least 5%," said FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin.
"When production goes into full swing at Bangabandhu Industrial City and other economic zones of the country, the pressure on Chittagong Port will go up significantly," he pointed out, and stressed that the port's capacity must be increased.
The call was made at the first meeting of the FBCCI Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping this year, on Thursday.
Speaking as chief guest, he said at present the speed of cargo vehicles on the Dhaka-Chattogram highway is 40km per hour. If this speed is doubled, the competitiveness of the export sector will increase another 6%.
Chemicals imported through Chittagong port have to be tested separately before unloading. However, Chittagong Customs does not have an adequate laboratory and it takes importers 10 to 12 days to get tests done. The FBCCI president said immediate steps should be taken to solve such problems at the port.
The FBCCI chief urged the standing committee to find short, medium, and long term solutions by first clearly identifying problems at Chittagong port.
FBCCI vice-president Md Habib Ullah Dawn said importing vehicles through Chittagong port costs twice as much compared to Mongla port. He noted that such widely differing costs at different ports in the same country are unreasonable.
Among others, Md Amin Helaly, FBCCI vice-president, AM Mahbub Chowdhury, standing committee director-in-charge, and Dr Md Pervez Shazzad Aktar, chairman of the committee, attended the meeting.