CPA should consider exporters' proposal for interest of apparel sector
COUNTRY'S apparel exporters have turned down the Chattogram Port Authority's (CPA) proposal to release the imported goods from the private inland container depots. The private ICD operators are charging higher fees and taking more time than the CPA for releasing the goods. They said it takes six to seven days to get the consignments released from the off-docks as compared to only two days at the port. The RMG exporters cannot bear the additional charges as the sector has to stay competitive in the international market amid the pandemic-induced economic slowdown.
Currently, private ICDs are barred from handling the imported goods of the apparel sector. However, the off-docks were allowed to deliver all goods, including apparel to ease the port congestion. The importers have to pay Tk 4,140 for taking delivery of a twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) of container from the port while it is Tk 7,300 in the case of the private ICDs. The RMG exporters alleged that the lack of space, equipment and labours in the private ICDs was causing delays in handling the goods.
As the pandemic impacted RMG sector negatively, the sector leader ask the NBR to allow continuing with the existing facilities of releasing the import consignments from Chattogram Port to reduce the cost of exports and help the sector survive. There are a total of 18 private ICDs delivering only 23 per cent of the FCL containers while 10 per cent are delivered at the consignees' premises and the remaining containers are delivered from the port premises. However, the private ICD operators are also instrumental for the country's export-import trade.
To stay in the competition, the RMG sector must cut its excessive cost and the government agencies should come up with the assistance, while private ICDs need to be flourished with the support of the large export sector. Both the parties should come in bilateral agreement to support each other. Besides, while the CPA yet to utilise its full strength of container handling, why the government allows private ICDs is also an unsolved question.