Scrap-carrying ships, before they can unload the imported goods, are now being forced to wait week after week at the outer anchorage of Chattogram Port for their turn to berth.
As a result, importers are counting an extra $10,000 to $15,000 per day in demurrage to the ship owner.
This, the importers have complained, is increasing their business cost enormously.
They said a ship has to wait even for 26 days to get berthing. It means, in total, the ship has to pay extra $390,000.
Scrap is one of the raw materials of rod.
A number of cargo ships carrying scraps imported from different countries have been stuck in the outer anchorage for lack of berthing.
Due to this increased cost, the market price of rod is also increasing.
In the last six months, the price of per tonne rod has increased by Tk11,500 in the local market.
In September last year, rod sold for Tk48,000 to Tk55,000 depending on its grade. At present, it is selling for Tk69,500 per tonne.
According to the Bangladesh Steel Manufacturers Association (BSMA), in September 2020, after arriving at the outer anchorage, it used to take two to nine days for a scrap-carrying ship to get berthing.
Since then, the delay in getting berthing at outer anchorage started to increase every month.
It took three to fifteen days in October last year, 11 to 21 days in November, six to 17 days in December, 21 to 23 days in January this year and 13 to 26 days in February.
Seeking an end to the crisis, BSMA leaders have sent a letter to the chairman of the Chattogram Port Authority, demanding allocation of two berths for the scrap-carrying ships.
The letter, signed by BSMA Chairman Manowar Hossain, said unloading of scrap is being delayed a lot as there is no particular berthing anchorage for scrap-carrying ships.
The steel mills of the country are also facing problems in getting scrap supply.
The letter said steel producing mills in Bangladesh are currently meeting the steel demand of major development projects including Padma Bridge, Metro Rail, Karnaphuli Tunnel and Rooppur Nuclear Project.
In the future, the country's infrastructure development will increase and the use of steel will also increase. The cost of infrastructure development in the country is also increasing due to the increased rod prices.
Initially, the BSMA demanded two berths for at least three months particularly for berthing of scrap-carrying ships. In order to resolve the crisis permanently, it demanded two permanent berths.
Sanjay Kumar Ghosh, head of supply chain management of the country's leading rod manufacturing company BSRM, said due to shortage of jetties at the port, it is taking about a month for the scrap-carrying ship to start unloading.
A lot of money has to be paid for the delay. Due to this, the manufacturing companies are being forced to raise the rod prices in the market.
The mainline operators (MLOs) of the ship are held accountable for the crisis as their goods have been stuck at the port for a long time.
Many MLOs are reluctant to send ships to Bangladesh for this reason, said several shipping agents.
Shafiqul Alam Jewel, vice-chairman of the Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association, said out of 18 jetties in the port, containers are unloaded at 12 jetties while general cargo products are unloaded at six jetties.
He said due to the increase in the import of cargo products, unloading in a short time is not possible with a limited number of jetties.
As a result, although the average waiting time for container cargo ships has decreased, that for scrap and other cargo ships is increasing day by day.
He suggested that the problem can be solved through unloading general cargo ships at container jetties.
When contacted, Rear Admiral M Shahjahan, Chairman, Chittagong Port Authority, said scrap products were being unloaded at the private jetty of Karnaphuli Drydock Ltd, which was inaugurated on March 30.
This, he hopes, will reduce the waiting time for berthing of scrap cargo ships. Moreover, there are ships in other ports of the world at the moment. Prior to this, ships coming to the port are being given priority to get berthing.