Container release should be faster at Chattogram port

Update:

A Prothom Alo report published on 2 September 2016 says that Chattogram sea port advanced 11 notches up and ranked 76 among the top 100 seaports of the world. The list was prepared by the world's oldest weekly on shipping, Lloyd's List. They make the list on the basis of the total throughput of containers per year.

Another report published on Saturday says that Chattogram port, advancing 12 more steps, has been ranked 64th this time on the list.

Between 2009 and 2018, the port has advanced 31 notches. Though the port stepped down by one step in several years, there had been continuous progress for four consecutive years. Container throughput decreased in many countries' seaports in the meantime. According to the 2016 report, 36 ports faced such crisis, but Chattogram clinched on to a continuous growth.

This undoubtedly is good news as the increase of container amount means increase in gross domestic product, production as well as international trade for a country. Almost all the export items of the country are transported via containers. Most of the raw materials for the industrial sector too are imported via containers here. Despite the slow speed, the progress of Chattogram port has been commended internationally.

But problems of the Chattogram port are increasing too. Lloyd's List truly commented that the port is a 'victim' of its own success. For increasing throughput of containers, container release is delayed. Chattogram ranks among the top seaports across the world that takes the highest time to release containers.

A survey published in the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in March said among the 19 Asian-Pacific countries Pakistan takes the highest time, 16.6 days on an average, to release containers at sea port. Chattogram followed Pakistan taking 15.8 days.

But the Chattogram port authorities said the container congestion was solved last November after several steps were taken. The reason for the congestion is natural disaster that was initiated with cyclone Fani in May.

According to Prothom Alo's Chattogram correspondent, at least 12 days are required on average to complete the process of container release once a ship is anchored at the jetty. The local importers fear that vessel congestion may increase further during the Eid-ul-Azha vacation.

The biggest obstacle to increase the effectiveness of the port is structural. If the number of jetties is not increased, the delay would not be solved. But the task requires a long period of time. There is no possibility of increasing the number of jetties in one and a half years. But the initiative to solve the congestion cannot be delayed for this. The modification works of the port must be run on a regular basis. Container yard must be expanded as well as the whole management must be strengthened.

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