Bangladesh: Pvt ICDs push for enhanced charges

Private off-dock operators in Chittagong are now pushing for realising their long-disputed rates from shipping lines.

The Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA) issued a letter to the parties concerned on April 06 seeking the enhanced rate.

The lobby group said the container shipping lines should pay at an increased rate by 15 per cent from January last.

They said the 15 per cent rise is 7.0 per cent lower than the rate recommended by the CPA committee in 2016.

But container shipping lines said this is not time to realise it as the whole world is passing through the corona crisis.

Captain AS Chowdhury, general-secretary at the Bangladesh Container Lines Association, said it may be postponed considering the global situation.

“The increased rate may be realised later when the economy gets normal,” he argued.

He said their business has been affected by the pandemic.

“Many parties, to my knowledge, who had made shipment to Europe did not get the values,” Mr Chowdhury said.

On the other hand, BICDA said the government has announced the operations as an emergency service to ensure supply of goods to the people and the industries.

“We’re hiring labourers at high prices and we’re even feeding them at the depots”, Ruhul Amin Sikder, secretary at the BICDA, told the FE.

He said this is an older issue and two big lines have already paid at the new rates.

He said the CPA formed committee in 2016 and recommended raising tariff of ICDs by 42 per cent.

The shipping lines had given 20 per cent. The remaining 22 per cent remained unrealised.

“We now want just 15 per cent increase giving up 7.0 per cent from the 22 per cent, which is very much reasonable considering the services we are rendering,” he said.

The BICDA members handle 100 per cent export cargoes and around 20 per cent imports.

There are around 20 off-docks or dry ports in Chittagong, which emerged in late 1980s.

Such depots helped improve the Chittagong port situation as they handle a large portion of the export-import trade.