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Home Port News DG cargoes galore in Chittagong port mounting risks

DG cargoes galore in Chittagong port mounting risks

Bangladesh’s prime gateway, Chittagong port seems to be under severe risk with approximately 486 tonnes of dangerous goods (DG) cargoes remain stored in its sheds and warehouses.

Steps had been taken to remove the DG cargoes from the port area and stop storing them afresh at port yards after the Beirut blast back in August 2020.

However, one year after the incident, it is found that the port yards are at severe risk due to the presence of a large volume of various types of chemicals.

Some of these DG cargoes are waiting for a long period for auction or destruction as the importers did not take delivery of them after the stipulated time.

A Chittagong port official said auctioning or destruction of DG cargo has the involvement of port, customs, and eight other government agencies. Thus, the removal of DG cargoes from the port is taking time.

After the Beirut incident so far around 58 tonnes of DG cargoes were destroyed from the Chittagong port while eight more tonnes of chemicals were recently sent to a cement factory for taking disposal.

In Bangladesh, chemicals like calcium carbide, potassium chlorate, red phosphorus, sulfur, ammonium nitrate, potassium nitrate, sodium nitrate, and cellulose nitrate are being imported under the rules of the department of explosives. The majority of them are being stored at “P” shed of the port after being unloaded from the vessels.

After the Beirut incident, the Bangladesh Navy, involved in the process of ensuring security at Chittagong port, had ordered that containers which are carrying refrigerant and air-conditioning gases must be moved directly to importers' warehouses by putting them on truck chassis from vessel hook points. They should not be kept in the port yards to avoid any possible incidents.

However, the instruction was relaxed as the customs authority need physical inspection of such cargoes to check possible duty evasion by errant shippers. The customs usually conduct such inspection by opening the containers in the yard and later puts those in the sheds.

A senior port official said the time-consuming procedures followed by the customs authority to hold auction or destroy the DG cargoes have created the stockpile of the chemicals at the yards.

A customs official highlighted that auctioning goods is a complicated and time consuming task as various procedures need to follow.

Meanwhile, as of 15 September, 6,758TEU were lying at the auction unit of the port.

On 16 September, the customs authority completed the 16th auction event this year, auctioning 83-lot of cargoes to free yard space.

Sharar Nayel
Bangladesh Correspondent

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