Shippers using the Chittagong port are getting delayed delivery of containers, as the vessels need to wait nearly five days to get berthing.
The congestions at the hub ports in Singapore and Colombo are blamed for the rise in waiting times in Chittagong.
“As a consequence of congestion at transhipment ports, vessels are bunching up there and also coming together at Chittagong port, which has shot up the waiting times,” said a representative of the main line carrier in Dhaka.
Stakeholders said a few weeks ago, port jetties were found vacant in the absence of adequate number of incoming vessels. The ships where then taking berthing immediately without waiting at the outer anchorage.
However, feeder vessels to and from the Chittagong port now facing two to four days’ berthing delay in the Colombo port and two days in Singapore. Containerised goods are ferried to and from the Chittagong port and the hub ports by feeder vessels.
Data shows that feeder vessel ASIATIC MOON came to Chittagong port on November 06 and got berthing on November 11. Besides, another vessel namely AS RAFAELA reached the port’s outer anchorage on November 7 and got berthing on November 12 facing five days’ delay.
Another vessel namely SITC KEELUNG waited from November 8 to November 12 for berthing, container vessel POLO and MAERSK VLADIVOSTOK also waited four days, while container ship SOL MALAYSIA, MAERSK HAI PHONG, SOL BANGLADESH, and LUCKY MERRY are among the liners, which waited three days to get berthing.
“It’s not a traditional peak season in Bangladesh,” said another shipping sector official.
Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association (BSAA) chairman Ahsanul Huq Chowdhury told the FE on Friday the port authority is now allotting fewer number of jetties for container vessels, which has fuelled waiting times rise.
He said a large volume of iron bars are being imported for the government’s development work nowadays. Three jetties, which were usually used for berthing of container vessels, are now occupied for unloading these goods.
Mr Chowdhury said huge volume of reefer containers, more than the number of port’s power plug capacity, are now stored in the port yard. Besides, a number of vessels are now waiting at the outer anchorage which also has reefer containers on board.
“Unless power plugs are freed by taking delivery of reefer containers, the waiting vessels would not be able to unload boxes, which is another reason for vessels’ higher waiting times,” he said.
He said importers are not taking delivery of reefer containers, which are loaded with onion, as price of the key spice has fallen in the local market.
“The business bodies need to request the importers to take delivery of reefer containers quickly,” he said.
On Friday, according to Chittagong port website, some six container vessels were loading and unloading boxes at main jetties while seven container vessels were waiting at the outer anchorage.
On the other hand, five general cargo vessels were occupying main jetties and two were at special berth of the port.
President of the Exporters Association of Bangladesh Abdus Salam Murshedy told the FE manufacturers need to get raw materials in hand quickly to produce goods for exporting.
“Steps need to be taken so that vessels cannot wait longer with raw materials aboard,” he said.