DOT Desk: The time required for vessels to unload and re-load containers, also known as average turnaround time, at Chattogram Port has increased to 2.88 days (69.12 hours) from 2.65 days (63.6 hours) in the last five years, causing sufferings for businessmen as expenses have surged, reports The Business Standard.In addition, a vessel’s wait-time at the outer anchorage before it is taken to the pier, a process known as berthing, jumped to 4.18 days from 0.80 days between 2014-15 FY and 2018-19 FY. It is notable that in 2014-15 FY a vessel had to spend 3.45 days in the outer anchorage and berth. The time increased to 7.06 days in 2018-19 FY. In other words, the delay before vessels make the next voyage has increased. The delay at the port, which handles 90 percent of foreign trade, enormously impacts the economy, including the country’s most competitive export product– readymade garments. Stretching the turnaround time also pushes up production and freight costs, which in turn imposes extra expenses on businessmen. Businessmen have to pay between Tk8.5 lakh and Tk12.7 lakh per day to the port authorities as demurrage for a vessel’s overstaying in the port.
They cover the extra costs by demanding higher prices for their commodities, with consumers eventually suffering the consequences. Talking to The Business Standard, AM Chowdhury Selim, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said that delay caused by the port is affecting production costs.
“There is a time-frame for each order. Delays at the ports are causing foreign buyers to turn their backs on us,” he said, adding that products should be delivered within hours, not days.