Apparel makers seek direct delivery from port
Garment manufacturers no longer want to take delivery of import consignments from private inland container depots (ICDs) alleging it took up too much time while the charges were exorbitant.
Preferring to take deliveries directly from Chattogram port, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) in a recent letter to the Chattogram customs commissioner urged for full restoration of direct port deliveries.
However, Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (Bicda) in a letter to the commissioner denied the allegations.
An acute container congestion was prevailing at the port for poor deliveries amid the Eid holidays and countrywide lockdown.
Attempting to alleviate the situation, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in an office order on July 25 directed to shift all import-laden containers from the port to the 19 private ICDs.
The aim was to unpack the goods from the containers and provide deliveries from there for a temporary period till August 31.
Usually, containers carrying only 37 types of imported goods are taken to the ICDs from the port for delivery.
The NBR's decision helped to rapidly ease container congestion at the port since over 15,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of import-laden containers could be shifted to the ICDs in a span of one week.
The apparel makers, however, have been opposing shifting imported raw materials for manufacturing garments to the ICDs from the beginning. They kept taking deliveries of their imports from the port directly.
BGMEA First Vice President Syed Nazrul Islam on August 12 in a letter to the commissioner of Chittagong Customs House stated that it was taking an additional six to seven days to take deliveries from the ICDs.
He reasoned that the ICDs lacked adequate space, equipment and manpower.
Islam told The Daily Star that taking deliveries from the port usually took three to four days while currently it was taking eight to 12 days to take deliveries from the ICDs.
In his letter, the BGMEA leader also alleged that the ICDs charge a total of Tk 13,755 for handling and delivery of a 20-foot import-laden container whereas the port charged only Tk 4,277.
The charges include package delivery charge worth Tk 7,930, lift charge of Tk 1,000, river dues of Tk 408 and an extra movement charge of $51.97 or around Tk 4,400.
For a 40-foot import-laden container, the ICDs charged Tk 18,092 whereas the port only Tk 5,988, it stated.
Islam said garment factory owners were facing financial losses due to such extra costs and additional time.
He said due to the BGMEA's repeated steps, its members have increased taking deliveries from the port as congestion there had almost cleared.
Meanwhile, Bicda President Nurul Qayyum Khan in a letter to the customs commissioner on August 14 denied the allegations.
The ICD did not charge as much as claimed by the BGMEA leader, said Khan.
The ICDs charge only Tk 7,930 for a 20-foot import load container and Tk 9,150 for 40-foot container and there is no additional lift charge and river due, he said.
The ICDs imposed a package delivery charge for shifting containers from the port to the ICDs, for lifting it on and off from vehicles for placement and for the use of labour, he said.
The extra movement charge worth $42.60 or around Tk 3,600 for a 20-foot container is not a regular charge, he said.
It is taken in case of appraisement, sampling and fumigation of select containers of consignments, he mentioned in the letter, adding that Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) also imposed such extra movement charge for particular cases.
BICDA Secretary Ruhul Amin Sikder told The Daily Star that the CPA imposed the charge for every single container of a consignment.
Mentioning that they received no complaint of delays in import delivery from any importer, Sikder said no ICD prefers prolonged stays of import containers inside their yards since the market was very competitive.