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Chittagong threatens to slap four times penalty on errant shippers

The Chittagong Port Authority has threatened to slap four times store rent on Full Container Load (FCL) boxes which have been staying at port yards for more than 21 days.

The penalty will be applicable from 15 March, as part of the efforts to free required space at the container yards that are facing severe congestions since the importers reportedly pursuing a go-slow policy in taking box delivery.

The port authority issued a notification in this regard on 2 March and asked the shippers to take delivery of boxes before mid-March to avoid the penalty.

As of 3 March, there were 32,941 TEU of FCL containers lying at the port yards against the total capacity of storing 35,868 TEU for this type of containers.

“We recently noticed very slow delivery of containers from the port yard. Some importers even do not take delivery of boxes even after 21 days. This is hindering normal operational activities at the port,” said the notification.

If the situation does not improve by 15 March, four times store rent will be applicable over the normal rent on 21st days, in line with section 160 of Regulations for Working of Chittagong Port (Cargo and Container), 2001.

A senior Chittagong port official said the store rent at the port is much lower than that of the same outside, thus importers who do not have their own warehouses use the port yard as a godown.

Mohammed Abdullah Jahir, chief operating officer at Saif Maritime Limited said the volume of box handling by the Chittagong port has increased but at the same time, the storing capacity did not go up as expected.

Thus, whenever, the shippers want to keep containers for some additional days, the yards become congested, according to Jahir, who noted, “The storage capacity needs to be increased to cope up with the growing export import trade.”

In the meantime, the port authority last week inaugurated one less than container load (LCL) container freight station (CFS) at the port yard to accommodate readymade garment industry-linked growing import.

February box handling

Meanwhile, the Chittagong port saw moderate growth in box handling in February compared to the same month in the previous year.

Bangladesh's major port handled 69,820 TEU laden, 46,731 TEU empty export boxes, 115,389 TEU laden and 3,921 TEU empty import boxes in the second month of 2022.

Sharar Nayel
Asia Correspondent

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