- Traders prefer Benapole Port as communication is easy
- For perishable raw material, customs used to give discounts on customs duties
- As discount has suddenly been stopped, traders have stopped importing fruits
- There is a deficit in revenue as fruit imports have stopped
- Many traders have started importing through Bhomra Land Port as they get some extra facilities there
Traders have halted importing fruits from India and no trucks carrying fruits entered the Benapole land port in the last two days as traders claimed they were incurring losses due to tightened customs duty rules and various other irregularities.
A large portion of the products imported through Benapole Port is perishable raw material from different provinces of India. Some goods become rotten on reaching the port, and customs authorities were giving a discount of 1kg per carton. As the discount has suddenly been stopped, the traders have stopped importing fruits.
As a result, hundreds of trucks loaded with fruits are stuck in the Indian port of Petrapole. Fruit traders said some exporters had taken trucks full of fruits from Petrapole Port to Bhomra Port in Satkhira as they get some waivers there.
Rafiqul Islam Royal, a fruit importer and the owner of Royal Enterprise in Benapole, said traders felt comfortable importing goods through Benapole port as communication was easy. Due to the strictures imposed by the Benapole Customs in importing food raw material, exports were closed for 15 years.
Later, due to some concessions given by the customs department in the case of perishable goods, the import of raw material through Benapole port started again from the beginning of this year. But recently, the customs authorities have introduced new rules for fruits imported from India, he added.
They are also asking for payment of duty on the cartons that come with the fruit. According to traders, there will be loss in importing raw fruits under this rule. Therefore, traders are reluctant to import fruits through Benapole, he said further.
He said that many traders are taking back the trucks of fruits coming to Petrapole port and starting import through Bhomra Land Port as they have got the facilities there.
Akhtar Farooq, manager of Benapole branch of Sonali Bank, which receives revenue from imported goods, said a large amount of revenue from food raw material used to come through Benapole port every day. At present, there is a deficit in revenue as fruit imports have stopped.
Abdul Jalil, acting director (administration) of Benapole Port, said 20 to 25 trucks of apples, grapes, pomegranate, oranges, tomatoes and other fruits are imported from India every day. However, due to internal problems of traders, no fruit truck has entered the port in the last two days.
Additional commissioner of Benapole Customs House Niyamul Islam said the customs department has not issued any new instructions in this regard. Some traders are not importing as they expect additional concessions.
He said there is no obstacle in unloading the goods if they are imported according to the rules.