The Chattogram port, the prime seaport of the country, is facing container congestion due to a long Eid vacation.
Even though the port remained open during the vacation, the delivery of containers was slow.
Sources said due to the long Eid vacation and traffic jam on Dhaka-Chattogram highway during the month of Ramadan, the delivery of containers was hampered seriously, causing container congestion at the port.
At least 40 ships were now waiting at the outer anchorage for delivery of containers. Besides, there were ships at all the jetties of the port, they added.
Shortage of C&F and truck workers was one of the causes for slow delivery of containers. As many workers went to their village home to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, the port could not deliver containers during the holidays.
In addition, more than 5,000 trucks, lorries and covered vans were standing as the government directed to stop their movement on the highways particularly Dhaka-Chattogram highway for three days before and after Eid day aiming to make the journey of home-bound people hassle-free.
However, C&F agents will start delivery of containers three days after Eid day, sources said, adding that many clients including exporters and importers could not take delivery of containers.
Although the Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) remained open during the holidays, the banks and other departments concerned remained closed at that time.
Moreover, the employees of private operators also enjoyed Eid holidays. So, loading and unloading from ships were continuing during the holidays, but delivery remained stopped, creating container congestion at the port yards.
Secretary of CPA Mohammed Omar Faruk said, "There are around 41,000 TEU containers at the port yards as the capacity of port yards is higher. Container congestion has been created at the port due to slow delivery."
The CPA was always ready to deliver containers, but the C&F agents and importers were not eager to take delivery during the holidays, he added.
"We have asked the importers concerned to take delivery of containers immediately."
Delivery of containers will be expedited after all the offices particularly the offices of exporters and importers open on Sunday, he said.
"The Chattogram port used to handle a total of 8000 TEU containers every day. Presently, it handles only 4000 TEU containers, resulting in container congestion," he added.
The CPA has introduced strict limits on how long a ship may remain in the port aiming at quicker loading and unloading of containers to reduce acute congestion and boost productivity during the period, Mr Faruk said.
Officials of CPA said the Chattogram port largely depends on private operators for handling containers. If handling of containers is expedited at the port, container congestion will be reduced soon.
Sources said congestion has led to disruption in overall container handling operation of the port which accounts for more than 90 per cent of the country's international trade.
Officials said earlier the CPA took decisions to reduce container congestion in the seaport and jetties. The decisions included ensuring delivery of FCL containers on the day of berthing, introducing of all systems and equipment Hot Service System during delivery, ensuring the presence of all shift staff and officials before starting new shift.
The CPA also formed a 16-member committee comprising its officials and stakeholders to gear up the operational activities of Chattogram port recently, sources concerned said.
Almost 90 per cent of the country's export and import is done through the Chattogram port which was seeing a 16-17 per cent growth in cargo and container handling for past few years, they said.
© 2017 - All Rights with The Financial Express