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Cost of using Pangaon ICT to be similar to Kamalapur ICD

The government has moved to keep the cost of using Pangaon Inland Container Terminal (ICT) similar to that of the Kamalapur Inland Container Depot (ICD), in order to promote Dhaka-Chittagong waterways for transportation of containerised goods, officials said.

A significant capacity of Pangaon ICT, established jointly by the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) and the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, has remained underutilised for long as the shippers feel discouraged to use the terminal due to various reasons.

The CPA has formed a committee, headed by its member (admin and planning), to prepare short-, medium-, and long-term plans to enhance the use of Pangaon ICT in export-import trade.

The committee recently decided to take measures to keep the cost of use of Pangaon ICT and that of the Kamalapur ICD similar so that shippers feel encouraged to use the former more often for carrying their goods.

A recent meeting of the committee discussed that the freight rate of the Pangaon ICT-Chittagong port route was higher than that of the Kamalapur ICD-Chittagong port route, discouraging shippers to use the water terminal despite it being located very close to the capital.

The meeting decided to request the Ministry of Shipping to hold a meeting with ship owners to request them to lower cargo carrying costs at least similar to the carrying costs through train.

It was also discussed that shippers hardly use Pangaon ICT for carrying export cargoes, forcing the mainline vessel operators to charge higher in case for import cargoes.

The meeting, therefore, decided to request the mainline operators to take into consideration the spirit of promoting the Pangaon ICT while fixing the freight rate for the route.

According to meeting discussion, the Buriganga Bridge authorities charge Tk 3,000 per export container and Tk 1,500 on each import container laden truck and trailer, discouraging the shippers to use the Pangaon ICT.

The rate will go further up when Padma Bridge opens for traffic.

The shipping ministry will be requested to resolve the issue of charging toll on vehicles to and from Pangaon ICT through conducting an inter-ministerial meeting so that cost of using the terminal goes down, as per the discussion.

The tariff at Kamalapur ICD was lowered years back to encourage the traders to use the railway for carrying containers.

Since the ICD is now handling cargos higher than its capacity, the rate now can be enhanced similar to that of the Chittagong port, the meeting discussed.

The meeting also discussed to provide incentives to Pangaon ICT users in the form of duty cut or any other ways so that importers and exporters feel encouraged to use the terminal.

The meeting further decided to provide priority berthing to feeder vessels at Chittagong port which will carry 100 TEUs (twenty feet equivalent units) of Pangaon ICT bound containers.

The provision of priority berthing will encourage the vessel owners to carry the Pangaon ICT bound containers even lowering the freight rate.

Director of Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association Mohammed Abdullah Jahir told the FE on Sunday that the Pangaon ICT authority had to take steps to encourage the exporters to use the terminal which would help the vessel owners lower the import container carrying costs.

“Due to the dearth of outbound cargos, mainline operators need to carry their containers empty which forces them to charge extra for import containers,” he said.

Mr Jahir said freight rate on the route would go down if adequate export containers found available.

“The schedule of vessels needs to be maintained properly which may encourage exporters to use the terminal,” he added.
Source: The Financial Express

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