Published in the Daily Star on September 24, 2017
Chittagong Port users yesterday urged all stakeholders to play their due role as the recent initiative to keep the seaport functioning round-the-clock is failing to yield full benefit.
They said some government and private organisations are not remaining open on weekends as decided in July this year when the 24/7 service was initiated to decongest the port. The comments came at a view-exchange meeting of stakeholders at the port’s training centre. The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) organised the discussion.
Shipping Secretary Md Abdus Samad said it was found that some organisations are still enjoying holidays on weekends.
CPA Chairman M Khaled Iqbal said delivery of cargoes from the port is not still up to the mark on weekends.
He urged importers and their clearing and forwarding agents to increase the delivery on weekends.
Iqbal also said bank branches located in Agrabad commercial area do not remain fully operational on Fridays and Saturdays.
Mahfujul Hoque Shah, a former director of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the port is failing to provide expected service because of the shortages of required jetties, yards and equipment. Nurul Qayyum Khan, president of the Bangladesh Inland Container Depot Association, said importers are not taking delivery from the port timely causing the congestion.
Ahsanul Huq Chowdhury, chairman of the Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association, said shipping agents are keeping their offices open on weekends but are not getting expected demands from clearing and forwarding agents.
In reply, AKM Akther Hossain, president of the Chittagong Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association, said they have already started working on weekends and the scenario would improve gradually.
AFM Abdullah Khan, commissioner of the Chittagong Customs House, called for ensuring the round-the-clock service at different government offices such as the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution, the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission and the quarantine department as samples of some cargoes are sent to these offices for laboratory test.