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Bangladesh’s external trade slows amid port jam

Bangladesh’s foreign-trade delivery slows as the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday virtually halted container handling at Chittagong seaport, creating acute shipping jam, sources say.

Some vessels now have been waiting up to eight days for berthing at the country’s prime port.

On Thursday, the day when offices reopened after the vacation, 19 container vessels were waiting at the outer anchorage of the seaport while nine more loading and unloading boxes, port data show.

A long queue of vessels has been created at the outer bar of the port, which is feared to be further lengthened as scores of container vessels are scheduled to join the rally in the coming days.

Data show that a deep-draught vessel, IMKE SCHEPERS, has been waiting 8 days to get berth while EASTWAY JAMUNA, SOL HIND, and MSC EMILEY have been in wait for 7 days for the berthing.

Container vessels namely KOTA RANCAK, SOL MALAYSIA, UBENA, MAERSK MONGLA, MSC TRADER, KOTA RAJIN, OEL SHASTA, and KOTA RIA have waited six days for berthing.

Also, six more vessels have been in the queue for 5 days, while as many waited 4 days, and two vessels waited 3 days to reach the jetties.

A senior official at a foreign shipping agency told the FE that the unloading of boxes during the last couple of days was slower than the usual.

Moreover, he said, on Eid day the port activities remained almost suspended, which fuelled the widening of number of vessels staying put at the outer anchorage.

Citing the vessel-arrival list, as declared by the shipping agents, he said the number of vessels in the outer bar may reach up to 30 in the next couple of days.

However, he expects that the situation may ease in next two weeks as container delivery from the port yards will now start on a full scale as the Eid break is over.

“Factories will open from Saturday. I heard on Thursday some delivery orders were issued which means importers have started to take delivery of containers,” he said.

On Thursday, some 39,411 TEUs (twenty- foot equivalent units) of containers were lying at the port yards.

On Wednesday, some 705 TEUs of containers were delivered from the port yards against over 4,500 TEUs on a normal day. On Eid day no boxes were delivered from the port yards.

A port official expects that the long vessel queue and the number of containers will go down next week if importers take delivery of boxes in a full swing.
Source: Financial Express

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