China has resumed shipment of goods to Bangladesh following the Lunar New Year holidays, easing local importers' concerns over the previously halted shipments due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Shipments from China, which remained halted for around two weeks, severely impacted Bangladeshi industries, garment and textile factories, as well as the retail market.
The outbreak also disrupted supply chains, causing a shortage of raw material for many industries and factories. The price of many Chinese goods in the local markets had also gone up.
Many importers have breathed a sigh of relief as China resumed the shipping of goods.
Businessmen involved with the readymade garment sector, which relies heavily on imports of raw material from China, said that the country has started sending shipments in a limited manner – but they are considering it a positive development.
They expressed optimism that China would start shipping goods to Bangladesh in full capacity again within the next few days.
The situation in China has improved a bit. Offices and factories are gradually resuming operations there.
Speaking to The Business Standard, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Vice President AM Chowdhury Selim said, "The situation in China has improved a bit. Offices and factories are gradually resuming operations there.
"They have already sent some shipments, and the situation is encouraging."
He further said it takes 12 days for a ship from China to arrive in Bangladesh directly, and through transit a ship takes 22 days.
"Getting shipments of goods, including raw material for the garment sector, will be much easier once the situation in China becomes normal again."
Clifton Group Director and Chief Executive Officer MDM Mohiuddin Chowdhury said, "We are currently getting 30 percent of our shipments from China. We are hoping that this crisis will be resolved within this week."
Meanwhile, Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry Director Anjan Shekhar Das said, "It is an encouraging news that China has resumed the shipment of goods. However, the country is still suffering from labour shortages."
A number of businessmen involved with import sector said that factories in several areas of China have resumed production, and ports near those factories have resumed shipment activities in full capacity.
China is also sending shipments that remained halted during the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.
On February 22, a ship named the MCC Yangon arrived at the Chattogram port's outer anchorage from Shanghai port with 1,500 containers. After going through the quarantine process, the ship has docked at the port. A few ships are also on their way to Bangladesh.
More ships carrying raw material for the readymade garment sector, fruits, ginger and garlic are currently waiting at the Shanghai and Ningbo ports in China.
Ahsanul Hoque Chowdhury, president of Bangladesh Shipping Agents' Association, also expressed optimism that the shipping crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak would soon be resolved.