Private inland container depots (ICDs) yesterday agreed to raise container handling charges by 10 percent with effect from October 1, down from 25 percent they had fixed six days ago.
On the morning of September 16, Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA) raised the tariffs by 22 percent to 25 percent.
But later in the evening, they agreed to increase the tariffs by 12 percent upon request from the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA).
But ICD users, which include exporters, importers, and freight forwarders, were not happy and had been expressing dissatisfaction over the hike, saying the decision would hurt the country’s external trade.
This prompted CPA Chairman Rear Admiral Zulfiquer Aziz to sit in an urgent meeting with all the stakeholders on the premises of the CPA yesterday.
After a long discussion, Aziz decided to raise the rates by 10 percent, according to the sources who were present in the meeting.
The increased charges will remain in place until a tariff committee of the shipping ministry fixes the rates, they added.
BICDA President Nurul Qayyum Khan told The Daily Star that the tariffs were needed to be increased in 2016 but they waited until August this year for a decision from the tariff committee, which has not come up with any new rate yet.
In the last one and a half months, the association had tried thrice to raise the tariffs but each time had to defer the decision and refunded the collected additional money to the users, he said.
Khan said this time they would also return the additional money they had collected from the users in the last six days.
After unloading from vessels at the Chattogram port, a portion of import containers are sent to the 19 private ICDs where goods are taken out and delivered to importers.
Almost 90 percent of the export-bound goods are sent to the ICDs to put them insider export containers before sending them to the port for shipment.
M Shafiul Bari, member of the CPA for harbour and marine; Enamul Karim, director for traffic; Jowher Rizvi, first vice president of BICDA, and Khalilur Rahman, vice president, were also present at the meeting along with others.