Garment makers yesterday urged the government to bring a quick solution to the UK's ban on air cargo as the country is one of the most important markets for Bangladesh.
The ban imposed on March 8 will hurt Biman Bangladesh Airlines that carries cargo directly to London with its four weekly passenger flights. It came after Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport failed to meet some international security requirements.
Each flight to the UK carries an average of 25 tonnes of cargo, mostly apparels, vegetables and agricultural products.
“We are worried by the decision of the UK,” said Siddiqur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
“Once the decision comes into effect, we have to send garment items through Singapore or Hong Kong or Thailand or Dubai.”
“The move will increase the transportation costs and time, which will hurt our business to the UK market,” Rahman said at a media briefing at the association's office in Dhaka.
Usually, most garment shipments are sent to the UK through seaways due to cheaper transport costs. But in case of an emergency, airways are used to meet the tough deadlines set by international retailers and brands.
Samples of apparel items are mostly carried by aircraft, he said.
In 2014-15, Bangladesh exported more than $3 billion of garment items to the UK, registering an 11.76 percent year-on-year growth, Rahman said.
In the first six months of the current fiscal year, Bangladesh exported about $2 billion of garment items to the UK, registering 26.1 percent growth year-on-year. The UK is the second largest apparel export destination after Germany among the EU nations.
“We do not want any negative impact on our exports to the UK,” Rahman said.