Photo: Cameron Venti/Unsplash
Photo: Cameron Venti/Unsplash
Three other European countries – Denmark, Portugal and Slovenia – have expressed interest in direct shipping with Chattogram seaport, days after seamless cargo transport was introduced with Italy. This created a milestone in Bangladesh’s export history.
The Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) and exporters say this is good news for the country’s export sector. So, the sooner direct shipments with other European countries like Italy can be started, the better it is for the country’s economy.
APC Secretary Md Omar Farooq said Danish Ambassador to Bangladesh Winnie Estrup Petersen had a meeting with the port authority on February 14.
“During the meeting, the Ambassador discussed with the port authorities the possibility of starting direct freight shipments in the future. Portugal and Slovenia also expressed interest in freight transport. The two countries will discuss discuss these matters virtually with the Port Authority of Chattogram soon,” he added.
Md Omar Farooq further said that the port authority will provide all kinds of cooperation on direct cargo transport with Europe.
“Chattogram Port Authority believes that the introduction of direct freight transport with Europe is an important step for the country’s garment industry and economy. It will also improve the country’s image,” a- he added.
The Chattogram Port Authority claims that European Union member countries use each other’s territory. There are opportunities to transport goods from one country to another by road. So, if the cargo is going to any country from Chattogram Port, it can get it to its destination by road.
According to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters and Association (BGMEA) and the Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association, ready-made garments account for about 82% of the country’s total exports. Bangladesh sends about 51% of its global exports to European countries. In addition, 25% of exports are destined for the United States, 20% for Asian countries and 4% for Canada.
It takes around 40 days to reach Europe via various transshipment ports in Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Currently, it only takes 16 days to transport goods directly to Italy. With the introduction of new route shipping, the delivery time has dropped to 24 days. This will reduce transport costs by around 40%, they added.
Rakibul Alam Chowdhury, vice president of BGMEA, said it would benefit both garment manufacturers and overseas buyers. This will shorten the time and the air transport of the goods.
“We hope that other countries will also come forward to transport goods directly from Chattogram, as the transport of goods to Italy has been successful,” he added.
Besides Italy, he said, Germany is also a big market for Bangladeshi products.
“We expect shipping companies to take the initiative to introduce drop shipping with Germany soon. Drop shipping may also be introduced with the United States,” the apparel exporter added.
The Port of Chattogram accounts for 92% of the country’s import-export trade. About 98% of container shipping takes place here.
Recently, the Italian shipping company Kalypso Compagnia di Navigazione SPA started transporting Bangladeshi exports through two container ships – Songa Cheetah and Cape Flores. Reliance Shipping and Logistics is the local shipping agent for the two vessels in Bangladesh.
Another vessel, AST Malta, will arrive at the port of Chattogram to transport goods to Italy, after the departure of the Songa Chita with 951 TUS containers on February 7.
The ship is expected to reach Chattogram Port from China on March 2. It will leave port for the port of Ravenna, Italy, with export cargo of 128 TEUs from the port of Chattogram.
Abul Kalam Azad, director of Reef Line, a freight forwarder, said the Songa Chita could not carry some cargo on February 7. In addition, other goods destined for Italy are at the port of Chattogram. The ship basically comes to Chattogram to pick up the goods.