A record number of import containers has remained stockpiled at the Chittagong Port meant for Dhaka Inland Container Depot, forcing consignees to pay more, people familiar with the situation said.
As on Thursday, they said, more than 1,900 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) of import containers were lying at the port yards before being dispatched to Dhaka.
Such a huge stockpile of containers occupies much higher space than the area earmarked at the Chittagong Port. An area equivalent to 400 TEUs of storage capacity was designated at the Chittagong Port.
From the area railway wagons carry the cargoes to Dhaka. Usually two wagons move to and from the Dhaka ICD carrying around 130 TEUs a day.
Senior traffic officials at the Chittagong port Authority (CPA) said the abrupt suspension of wagon services by the Railway during the Eid vacation resulted in congestion.
The Railway had suspended its wagon services for three days in the wake busy traffic on the rail route during the Eid-ul-fitr.
Those who used the Pangaon Terminal as an alternative now prefer the Dhaka ICD, leading to the rise in import container bound for Dhaka, they said.
Officials at the Pangaon Terminal, a river route between Chittagong Port and Pangaon in Dhaka, said that each container is scanned at the Pangaon and that's why consignees prefer the ICD having around 4,000 TEUs of storing capacity.
Meanwhile, importers record a delay in around 25-27 days to send containers to Dhaka through the wagons.
In case of stay, the port does not charge for four days, requiring the importers to pay for subsequent delays.
Ahmedul Karim, terminal manager at the ICD, said that many now want to discharge their cargoes from the depot.
"Even those who used Pangaon are now desperate to take their goods from the ICD," he said.
An electronics goods importer said that they have been paying extra for their goods as the shipping companies have raised charges for the goods destined to Dhaka.
In the past, there was a flat fee for ICD/import container instead of charges on a daily basis.
The Bangladesh Shipping Agent Association (BSAA) has requested the port chairman to start collecting fixed charges rather than daily rent.
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