Truckers charge arbitrary high fares
The goods transport owners’ association will meet with the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority chairman today to fix the new increased fare
- Chattogram-Dhaka: Increased from Tk15,000 to Tk25,000-Tk30,000
- Hili land port-Dhaka: Increased from Tk20,000 to Tk24,000.
- Akhaura land port: Increased by Tk10 per tonne
- Benapole land port: Increased from Tk18,000-20,000 to Tk26,000.
- Tamabil land port: Increased from Tk14 per cubic foot of stone to Tk19 per cubic foot.
The goods transport owners went on strike protesting the fuel price hike and then called it off after the authority assured them of increasing the fare accordingly.
Although there is no final decision taken in this regard, the goods transporters are charging fares unreasonably, which might push up the product prices, said the traders at the different land and seaports in the country.
Traders in Chattogram's Khatunganj, the country's largest consumer goods wholesale market, said they were facing losses due to the unusual increase in the cost of transporting goods on various routes across the country.
Sajjad Hossain, a middleman for freight transport in Khatunganj, said the cost of transporting 20 tonnes of product from Chattogram to Cox's Bazar increased from Tk14,000 to around Tk20,000, to Teknaf it jumped from Tk17,000 to around Tk23,000 and Chakaria from Tk7,000 to Tk10,000.
Solaiman Badsha, owner of Tayabia Traders in Khatunganj, said the cost of carrying goods on various routes to Chattogram city's wholesale markets including Khatunganj, Majhirghat and Sadarghat has increased by around Tk5,000.
Mohammed Shamsul Azam, director of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, told The Business Standard, "The average cost for transporting goods from the Chattogram port to Dhaka was Tk15,000, but recently it increased to Tk25,000-Tk30,000. In some cases, the transportation owners are demanding even more. This has increased the cost of garment production."
"There should be a fixed fare rate according to the routes of transportation. Otherwise, it will be difficult for Bangladesh to survive in competition with other countries including Vietnam in garment exports," he said.
The transport owners said there is no fixed fare for transporting goods according to the routes. The vehicle fares fluctuate almost hourly like the share prices in the stock market.
Nurul Amin, the proprietor of NR Trade and Transport in Kadamtali, said if there is pressure on imported goods at the Chattogram port, the fare increases. Again, the transport cost doubles if the owners cannot rent out their trucks on their way back from Dhaka.
A nationwide transport strike began on 5 November in protest at hiking the oil prices. On 8 November, the fourth day of the strike, the good transport company owners suspended the strike after a meeting with the home minister.
As part of the discussion, the leaders of the goods transport owners' association will meet with the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority chairman today at the Setu Bhaban in Dhaka, said Chowdhury Zafar Ahmed, secretary-general of the Bangladesh Covered Van, Truck, Prime Mover Goods Transport Association.
He further said, "There is no fixed fare based on the routes of transporting goods. However, there are fixed rental agreements with some companies. We will propose to increase the rent by 30% on the rent agreed upon."
He also denied the allegation of increasing the fare by 40-50% even before fixing the rate.
Truck fare increases 20% at Hili land port
The truck fare has risen at the Hili land port in Dinajpur by 20%, which might push up the commodity prices by the same margin, said the traders.
Harun-ur-Rashid, president of Hili Land Port Import-Export Group, said, "Goods imported from India are unloaded at the port and sent to different places across the country. The transporters have increased truck fares by 20%. Earlier the truck fare from Hili to Dhaka was Tk20,000, now it has increased to Tk24,000."
Truck fares increase in Akhaura land port by Tk10 per tonne
The truck fare for carrying goods from the Akhaura land port in Brahmanbaria has increased by Tk10 per tonne from Saturday and it may increase further subject to negotiation, said Md Akter Hossain, a clearing and forwarding agent at the Akhaura land port.
The traders said after remaining closed for a long time, some Bangladeshi companies have recently started importing rice and wheat from India through the Akhaura land port. At present, about 1,000 tonnes of wheat is being imported every day.
Previously, the cost of transporting imported goods from the Akhaura land port to places inside Brahmanbaria was Tk300 per tonne, to Cumilla it was Tk500 and to Chattogram it was around Tk900.
Brahmanbaria District Truck Workers Union General Secretary MdShakhawat Hossain Khokon said, "Our rent has not increased for a long time. We demanded to increase it by Tk50 per tonne, but it has increased only Tk10."
Transportation cost increases in Benapole
Earlier, the cost of carrying goods from the Benapole land port in Jashore to different parts of the country was around Tk18,000-20,000, but currently, it has been increased to around Tk26,000.
Azim Uddin Gazi, general secretary of the Benapole Transport Owners' Association, said they increased the fair as they have to spend Tk4,000 extra to transport goods from Benapole after the diesel price increased.
AminulHaque, vice-president of the Benapole Importers and Exporters Association, said it costs Tk2,000 to go to Dhaka, but the fare increased by Tk5,000-6,000. The traders will incur losses due to this.
Tamabil land port also witnesses rise in transportation cost
Transportation cost at Tamabil land port, through which only stone is being imported currently, has also increased. Earlier, stones were transported at Tk14 per cubic foot, but recently it has been increased to Tk19 per cubic foot.
Shabbir Ahmed Fayez, publicity secretary of Truck, Pickup Owners Association Sylhet, said, "We have been forced to raise fares due to the increase in diesel prices, but people do not want to pay an extra fare. The traders often get angry with the truckers over the fare hike."