CPA claims to have halved cost, time of exports, shippers differ

WB conducting ease of doing business survey

Syful Islam | Published: May 25, 2019 09:56:07 | Updated: May 26, 2019 10:28:48

Photo collected from internet has been used for representational purpose only

The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) said costs and time of exports through the port have halved, but users disagree.

The port operator made the claim while responding to a survey of the World Bank's 'Ease of Doing Business' index.

The port users, however, have differed with the CPA's claim.

The CPA said it takes roughly 36 hours for obtaining, preparing and submitting documents and handling consignments at the port alongside completing customs clearance and inspection procedures.

It also noted the cost of export per consignment is now stands at US$200 and the documentary compliance cost is $100.

Last year, Bangladesh ranked 176th among 190 countries in the World Bank's index.

In that index, the Bank found that it takes 168 hours to export from Bangladesh while it costs $408 for export besides the documentary compliance fees of $225.

The time and costs are much higher than those of other South Asian nations.

CPA director (Traffic) Enamul Karim told the FE the port authority has told the World Bank about achieving the target.

The World Bank has started conducting the survey between May 20 and June 20 and after that it will submit a report.

"If they find our claim to be incorrect, they will let us know. After that they will give us three months' time to improve and conduct another survey," Mr Karim said.

Officials said recently the CPA has issued a notification to all concerned, giving a reminder to follow the cost and time as mentioned by the authority.

They said the authority responded to a directive of the Prime Minister's Office, which asked for lowering cost and time as part of improving the country's ranking in the Bank index.

Vice president of the Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB) Mohammad Hatem differed with the CPA's projection.

The time to export-36 hours-as mentioned by the CPA, is "absurd", he said, adding an export goods-laden truck even waits in the off-docks for more than 36 hours to unload goods.

"The off-docks realise excessive money from the exporters in different heads," he said.

Mr Hatem said the cost of export through the Chittagong port is much higher than $200 as claimed by the CPA.

Secretary of the Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA) Ruhul Amin Sikder (Biplob) told the FE the cost of export is even lower than what the CPA claimed.

He said currently, the cost of export of each container of goods, after reaching container depots from the factories, is around $171.

Mr Biplob said the World Bank mainly takes statistics from the garment owners and does not verify with logistics services providers.

This leads to the generation of distorted data and creates confusion, he said.


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