After a 10 year hiatus, a Bangladeshi flag carrier container ship laden with export items is set to sail for Singapore on Tuesday.
The container ship named Sarera is scheduled to leave the New Mooring Container Terminal at Chattogram Port for Singapore around 10:00 am.
Hamdan Hossain Chowdhury, director of Karnaphuli Group, told The Business Standard, "Sarera, containing around 1,300 containers of export items, will sail for Singapore port on June 23. Another container ship Sahare will also start its journey towards Singapore on June 29."
Hamdan said the Chattogram Port Authority, various shipping lines, exporters and all the sectors concerned had cooperated in this endeavour. He expressed gratitude to all for the cooperation.
HR Lines of Karnaphuli Group is the operator of the two ships in the Chattogram-Singapore-Klang port in Malaysia-Chattogram route.
The ships will carry export items from Chattogram port to Singapore and Klang port and then will come back home with imported goods. This service has been named 'Bangladesh Express Service.'
Bangladesh has to depend on feeder vessels to transport export-import items through international sea routes as there is no deep sea port in the country. Now, 84 container vessels of 22 foreign feeder-operator companies transport the exported and imported products using the Chattogram-Singapore-Klang port-Chattogram sea route. The export items are sent to different destinations using the transit facilities in different international ports, including Singapore, Malaysia and China.
Two Bangladeshi companies, one named HRC Shipping Company and the other named QC Container Line used to transport export and import products in the sea route from 1996. HRC Shipping had 10 and QC had seven container ships. But, HRC Shipping made its exit from the business in 2010 and QC Container Line stopped operating the ships in 2007.
Mohammad Omar Faruque, secretary of Chattogram Port Authority, said the two Bangladeshi flag bearer container ships would enjoy extra privilege in berthing at the port and transport related issues as per the Bangladesh Flag Vessel (Protection) Act, 2019.
"The use of these two Bangladeshi container ships in carrying exported and imported products will brighten the image of Bangladesh," said Faruque.
The foreign feeder vessels now transport export-import items worth $90 billion annually. In 2019, Chattogram port handled 3.8 million twenty-feet equivalent units (TEUs) containers, according to concerned sources.