Air cargo ban still on!
It has been two months since Germany became the third country to slap a ban on shipment of air cargo from Shahjalal International Airport on security grounds. It now costs shippers an extra 5 cents per kilogram to reroute goods to Germany as direct flights from Dhaka to Berlin remain suspended. Have we forgotten that Germany is Bangladesh's second largest export destination and the largest air cargo destination for Bangladeshi goods?
It is ironic that Bangladeshi authorities made no move to either object to or try to lift the ban by German authorities imposed in June, although we had a window of opportunity to do so when German aviation authority sent us their notification. In fact, nothing has happened from our side since then, which leaves us dismayed. A report in this paper yesterday states that the minister for civil aviation and tourism claimed that his ministry has made no contact with the German authority because he did not receive any formal letter nor is he aware whether the civil aviation authority of Bangladesh or Bangladesh Biman have done so already.
How is it that this matter is being trivialised and there is so much confusion between the civil aviation authority and the concerned ministry? Is the minister confused about where his authority begins or ends for that matter? Germany being the third country to ban movement of air cargo from Bangladesh should have been more than a wakeup call for our government to move heaven and earth to prevent Bangladesh from being listed as a "high risk" country. The casualness with which the whole matter of cargo handling is being dealt with at the airport is shocking, and now the frank admission by a member of the cabinet leaves us wondering whether we are serious about protecting the competitiveness of readymade garments export.