The CMA CGM – a transportation and shipping company based in France – is launching a new shipping service connecting the ports of Chattogram and Vietnam on August 22.
The CNC, the sole intra-Asia short sea carrier of the CMA CGM Group, will begin the service with six container ships under the title Bay Bengal Express 2 (BBX2). Along with China, Malaysia and Singapore, the CNC is adding Vietnam in this route as a destination for the first time.
The new service will lower the time for Bangladesh to export products to different countries, and it will be able to import goods directly from Vietnam. Bangladesh will also be able to cut about six days from the average shipping time when exporting goods, especially readymade garment (RMG) products, to the USA.
A press release issued by CMA CGM Group revealed that the BBX2 service is scheduled to be launched from the port of Ningbo on August 22 with the following port rotation – China's Ningbo, Shanghai and Shekou, Malaysia's Port Klang, Bangladesh's Chattogram, Singapore, Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh and then back to Ningbo.
Giving more details, sources from the company said under this service, a ship carrying goods will leave China's Ningbo port on August 22. It will reach Chattogram in 12 days after visiting China's Shanghai and Shekou ports, and Malaysia's Port Klang along the way.
After picking up containers from the Chattogram port, the ship will reach Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh port in nine days, after visiting Singapore along the way.
Under the BBX2 service, a ship carrying products from Bangladesh will be able to reach the USA through Vietnam in just about 29 days. In comparison, it takes Bangladesh at least 35 days to send products to the USA using the currently available routes.
Six container vessels – each with 2,200 TeU (Twenty-foot equivalent unit) cargo capacity – will operate under the service.
Speaking to The Business Standard, Chittagong Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) President Mahbubul Alam said, "The opportunity to directly ship products to Vietnam and export goods to various countries using this route within a smaller time frame will positively impact Bangladesh's economy.
"It will be a big achievement for the import-export trade in the country. I want to laud the initiative on behalf of the businessmen. The number of such international routes should be increased further."
Large ships cannot dock at the Chattogram as Bangladesh lacks a deep sea port. The country uses Singapore, Malaysia and China as transit to import and export goods using Chattogram and other ports.
The Chattogram port handles 92 percent of the import-export trade in the country, and the RMG sector makes up a large portion of the exports. A lack of faster routes sometimes forces the RMG owners to send products through air shipments, which is much more expensive than shipping by sea.
Moreover, Vietnam overtook Bangladesh to become the second-largest apparel exporter in the Fiscal Year 2019-20 amid the Covid-19 crisis. Industry insiders believe that Bangladesh will be able to recover its previous place as an apparel exporter by utilising the new BBX2 route.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association's (BGMEA) Vice President AM Chowdhury Selim said, "The sea route from Vietnam to America is relatively shorter.
"Bangladesh taking six days less to ship its products to America will impact the RMG sector positively. I believe that this route will help us lower our shipping costs and further boost the export sector."