Vessel Jam at Port: Minister asks minister to act
State Minister for Land Saifuzzaman Chowdhury expressed strong resentment over persisting vessel congestion at the Chittagong Port for months at a programme in presence of the shipping minister yesterday.
Chowdhury said a huge amount of foreign currency is being drained as importers are forced to pay demurrage for overstay of vessels waiting to berth.
The state minister was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the month-long 26th Chittagong International Trade Fair (CITF)-2018 as the special guest.
He urged Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, who attended the programme as the chief guest, to address the issue immediately.
The Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) is organising the fair at Railway Pologround on over four lakh square feet area with 40 pavilions including 17 premier gold pavilions, four mini-mega pavilions, 11 premier pavilions, eight standard pavilions and 236 stalls.
CCCI President Mahbubul Alam chaired the inaugural ceremony held at the Bangabandhu Conference Hall of World Trade Centre.
Chowdhury, also a former president of CCCI, said the port has been facing severe vessel congestion for several months with businesspersons counting more than $10,000 to $14,000 as demurrage for overstay of a vessel every day.
“Vessels wait for more than 10 days at the sea for getting berths. The demurrage thus ranges from $1.5 lakh to $2 lakh for every vessel,” he said.
He expressed hope that the country might have a trillion-dollar economy in less than a decade and asked the shipping minister if the port was ready to deal with that.
Admitting the problems at the port, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan said a lot of projects have been taken to procure equipment and construct new terminals at the port.
He added two new terminals -- Patenga Container Terminal (PCT) and Laldia Multipurpose Terminal -- would be completed within the next couple of years.
Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) Mayor AJM Nasir Uddin and local lawmaker MA Latif also spoke on the occasion.