Trades throughout the country have resumed gradually since the 66-day shutdown was lifted, but international trading – export and import – at the ports have yet to pick up.
The Jashore land port, which used to see a significant amount of car imports, has not seen much improvement of the situation yet.
Benapole customs has, in fact, failed to meet the revenue target for the first half of the current fiscal year largely because car and motor parts imports have declined due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Its half-yearly revenue target for the fiscal year 2020-2021 was Tk2,996.14 crore while collection was Tk1,889.73 crore. But revenue increased by 22.12% compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year.
The lion's share of Benapole customs' revenue comes from imports of high-duty car chassis and motor parts.
Mofizur Rahman Sajan, president of the Benapole C&F Agents Association, said revenue collection grows when imports of car chassis and motor parts increase.
It is normal that revenue will decrease if low-duty goods are imported, he added.
Aminul Haque, senior vice-president of Benapole Import-Export Association, said chassis imports fell sharply due to the slowdown in the car business during the pandemic while motor parts imports are still decreasing.
Mizanur Rahman Khan, former president of the Jashore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said all businesses have slowed down due to the pandemic and the car business has slumped significantly.
"This is because people are more interested in buying cars and changing car parts when they have more cash flow. Besides, many importers are choosing other ports to bring in goods through due to the inadequate capacity of Benapole Land Port and theft of goods," he added.
Benapole customs Commissioner Md Azizur Rahman said although car chassis and motor parts imports have decreased due to the pandemic, imports will hopefully return to normal this year.
He said businessmen raised the issue of Benapole Land Port's inadequate capacity, specifying, "We wrote to the port authorities, asking them to increase capacity."
Benapole Land Port's Deputy Director (traffic) Mamun Kabir said acquiring new land for port infrastructure development and installing CCTV cameras for the security of imported goods is underway.
"Once these are done, revenue as well as imports will increase," he continued.
Beanpole customs' revenue target for the current fiscal year was set at Tk6,244.62 crore.
In the fiscal year 2019-2020, Benapole customs recorded a revenue deficit of Tk3,392 crore against the target.