All exports from Bangladesh will now pass through port scanning in compliance with international shipment security standards and so the process of installing scanners at all gates of Chattogram seaport begins.
Officials say the Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) will soon start shipment of all outbound containers by checking with the scanning machines.
They say the move has been made to meet the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) compliance.
Presently, no export containers are scanned with machine in the country's prime seaport. But all import containers are scanned before exit from the port area.
The Chattogram port-considered country's commercial lifeline so far-- annually handles over 1.52 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) of export containers and more than 1.68 million TEUs of import containers.
Sources said the port authority last week asked some seven inland container-depot owners to shift their offices located outside the Chattogram Port Access Road (CPAR) gate so that a scanner machine can be set up there to scan outbound boxes.
CPA chairman M Shajahan on January 17 visited the gate and asked the officials concerned to take immediate step for setting up a scanner machine there.
Later, the port officials in a coordination meeting on ISPS compliance instructed the depot owners to vacate the place by shifting their temporary offices without delay.
The CPA chairman told the FE Tuesday that scanning export cargo is mandatory for the ISPS compliance and there are four gates of the port where no scanner machine presently exists.
He said at the other gates there are scanners which scan import cargo- laden containers but they are also able to scan outbound containers.
"Once scanner machines are set up in all gates, the both-way transportation of containers will be further secure," he says.
According to him, presently outbound containers are checked by concerned officials during cargo-stuffing stage at off-docks.
But it takes huge time and has involvement of substantial manpower, Mr Shajahan said, adding that scanning them by machines will help faster completion of the work.
"This year, we handled 3.2 million TEUs of containers. If we want to handle more, we have to go further faster," he says, as reports are rife about port efficiency particularly relating to shipment jams.
Head of Operations at GBX Logistics Ltd Muntasir Rubayat welcomed the initiative for sending export cargos by proper scanning.
"It's a requirement relating to the security of ships and port facilities, which we should follow," he says.