To save time and money, apparel manufacturers want to take delivery of imported raw materials from Chattogram port instead of inland container depots (ICDs).
As the authorities initiate shifting import delivery from Chattogram port to the ICDs to avert lockdown-led container congestion at the port, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) moves to the revenue board.
In a letter to the revenue board, the BGMEA said ICD delivery will take four extra days after unloading from ships. Importers would have to pay Tk6,000-7,000 for a 20-feet standardised import container at the ICDs.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic-induced worldwide crises, it is impossible for us to take import delivery from inland container depots after paying extra, BGMEA President Faruque Hassan told The Business Standard.
In the face of increasing container congestion at Chattogram port due to the 66-day general holidays, the authorities shifted delivery of 38 imported items to 19 ICDs or off-docks.
Import delivery from off-docks is generally supposed to take less time as off-dock operators provide quick clearance services while the cost of taking delivery from off-docks is higher than at the port.
Importers have to pay an additional Tk6,000-7,000 per 20 feet container for delivery from private ICDs. As the charge of private ICDs has increased by 12%, businesses have already been paying more
In spite of the 2020-like movement restrictions in place again, the Ministry of Shipping on 13 April wrote to the revenue board asking for similar import delivery shifting from the port to the ICDs again this year.
In turn, the BGMEA on 20 April wrote to the revenue board seeking continuation of import delivery from Chattogram port.
Readymade garment manufacturers believe if the import delivery of apparel raw materials is shifted to private off-docks like the previous year, they will be in trouble again.
BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said there are no grounds to shift import delivery to off-docks now as Chattogram port currently does not have any container congestion.
Contacted, national revenue board member Syed Golam Kibria told TBS the revenue board had not yet issued any instructions on the delivery of all imported goods from private ICDs.
Chittagong Port Authority Secretary Md Omar Farooq told TBS that the port authorities have not received any instructions in this regard either.
Off-dock delivery charge will affect retailers too
The government approved 19 private ICDs to reduce container congestion at Chattogram port. These ICDs have a capacity of 65,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), and 38 types of imported goods, including food products are delivered from the ICDs.
100% of export containers are also shipped out from the off-docks.
The price of goods would go up if the decision to unload all types of goods from ICDs was implemented, and this would ultimately affect retail prices
According to the Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association (BAFFA), importers have to pay an additional Tk6,000-7,000 per 20 feet container for delivery from private ICDs. As the charge of private ICDs has increased by 12%, businesses have already been paying more.
Khairul Alam Sujan, director of BAFFA, said the price of goods would go up if the decision to unload all types of goods from ICDs was implemented, and this would ultimately affect retail prices.
According to the Chattogram port authority, the port yard's capacity is 49,015 TEUs while the port had 32,845 TEUs occupied as of 22 April.
Ruhul Amin Sikder, secretary-general of the Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA), said the capacity of 19 ICDs is 65,000 TEUs. These ICDs handle 3 lakh import containers and 6 lakh export containers annually.
He said private off-docks charge Tk7,300 for a 20-foot container and Tk9,100 for a 40 feet standardised container.