A new shipping service, connecting ports of Bangladesh, China and Vietnam, is expected to begin from August 22.
The voyage is likely to quicken the country's clothing shipments, as it will take Bangladeshi cargoes to the US from Vietnam instead of Singapore.
France-based CMA-CGM and Hong Kong-based SITC (Shandong International Transportation Company) have partnered to launch the service - named BBX2 - on the route. Initially, at least four vessels will ply the route.
CMA-CGM, the world's fourth largest shipping company by vessels, has dedicated direct services from Vietnam to the US destinations through its mother vessels.
Sector insiders told the FE that the new service will shorten the time, at present required for Bangladeshi-made goods to reach the US destinations.
Under the service, the vessels carrying local goods will first go from Chattogram to Ho-Chi-Minh city of Vietnam that will take around six days. From there, mother vessels will take the goods to the US destinations in around 12 days.
So, Bangladeshi export cargoes, which now require around one month in reaching the US, will go to the country in around 20 days through the new service.
"Uncertainty looms over connecting Bangladeshi cargoes to the US from Singapore. But, this will not happen from Ho-Chi-Minh of Vietnam," said an expert concerned.
He added that export is time-sensitive, and local manufacturers always want to maintain lead time of export goods - the period between placement of an order and its delivery. The new service will help them maintain lead time.
Meanwhile, the ships (under the new service) will come back via Chinese ports, carrying imports from China.
The world's second largest economy is the biggest trade partner of Bangladesh. The volume of bilateral trade may reach US$18 billion by 2021.
Shipping executives in Dhaka said Chinese economy is rebounding fast, thanks to its effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its trade with Bangladesh is also on the rise. China's economy grew by 3.2 per cent in the second quarter (Q2) from a negative 6.8 per cent in Q1.
They said Bangladeshi exports are also rising after a shock, and the new service wants to grab a large share of the trade by offering quick shipments. Besides, BBX2, an express service from China to Bangladesh, offers one of the best transit times in the market between the two countries.
"We are pleased to announce the launch of BBX2, a weekly service that connects Bangladesh-China-Vietnam and Singapore," said a notice of CMA-CGM.
This is the first Bangladesh-Vietnam connecting service, while Bangladesh-China route has two more services, rendered by Maersk Line and Sinocor-Hyundai jointly. Around 20 vessels ply between Chinese ports and Chattogram Port.