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Alternative route helping lower Chittagong shippers’ woe

Using alternative route to make shipment of export cargo is helping Bangladesh to lower outbound container congestion to some extent, avoiding congested Colombo and Singapore ports.

Some Bangladeshi exporters are now sending containers from Chittagong to the Indian port of Krishnapatnam from where boxes are shipped to mother vessels which directly sail to Europe and America.

On 9 July, a vessel with 515TEU of export containers left Chittagong for Krishnapatnam port, while earlier in June, 1,179TEU were sent via the same route.

Shreyas Shipping and Logistics Ltd (SSL) operates a container service with the rotation Chittagong - Haldia - Krishnapatnam - Chennai. Both the export and import containers are carried to and from the Chittagong port by this route.

Apart from sending containers to Europe this way, Bangladesh’s cargo bound to India is now also being transported by this route. Usually, these containers were being sent to India by Colombo port, which now the exporters pass up to avoid congestion and also shipment delays.

Abul Kalam Azad, general manager at GBX Logistics, the local agent of Hapag-Lloyd, said the service is getting immense response from the exporters now as Colombo and Singapore are facing severe congestions and berthing delays.

“The service is getting over-over booking,” highlighted Azad, whose company is a major user of the route to carry export-import boxes.

Meantime, despite the congestions and space crisis, Chittagong port's volumes are showing an upward trend. In 15 days of July, major Bangladeshi hub handled 54,422TEU import boxes, 33,339TEU export containers, 393TEU of empty import and 22,208TEU of outbound empty containers.

As of 19 July, more than 17,000TEU of export laden boxes are waiting at 19 off docks in Chittagong mounting shippers’ woe.

Sharar Nayel
Bangladesh Correspondent

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