The Bangladesh Bank has fixed a new commission for shipping agents for import and export in a bid to save foreign currency.
The new commission rate will take effect on 1 April this year.
The central bank's Foreign Exchange Policy Department issued a circular in this regard on Thursday.
In case of export, the commission would be the same as before. However, in case of import, the commission rate has been fixed in two phases at 2.5% and 5%, instead of earlier 2%.
In case of export, if shipping fare is added to the price of the product (Export on CFR), shipping agents will get 2.5% commission of the total transport cost. In this case, foreign currency leaves the country as the exporter has to pay the ship rent. Bangladesh Bank wants to discourage it, so the agent commission has been fixed less.
On the other hand, if the price of the product and the fare of the ship are separate (Export on FOB), shipping agents will get 5% commission. The commission rate is higher in this case because there are scopes to reduce the cost through bargaining. In many cases, the buyer bears the shipping cost. This saves foreign exchange. That is why agent commission in this case has been fixed higher.
On the other hand, two similar divisions have been made in case of imports also. If the shipping fare is added to the price of product (Import on CFR), the commission is 5%. Since these ships are rented by the seller, it helps save foreign currency. That is why the commission rate is high.
If the price of the product and the fare of the ship are separate (Import on FOB), the importer has to bear the transportation cost. As a result, foreign currency goes abroad. To discourage the practice, the commission has been fixed at 2.5%.
Earlier, in both the cases, the rate was 2%.
On condition of anonymity, an official of the Bangladesh Shipping Agents' Association told The Business Standard that the commission was applicable to cargo ships carrying containers of several companies.
However, he said, in practice, this rate is accepted in very few cases.
If only one company's goods are imported on a ship, the commission rate of the shipping agents is based on the weight of the cargo ship. The commission rate is set at $1,000 for up to 10,000 tonnes, $2,000 for 10,000 to 20,000 tonnes, and $2,500 for up to 20,000 tonnes. However, the minimum commission is $750.