Apparel exporters have requested the private inland container depots (ICD) to postpone or cancel the 23% spiked container handling charges that came into effect following the recent diesel price hike.
"The hike in container handling charges was unilateral since there had been no discussion with the stakeholders," in a letter, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) told Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (Bicda).
BGMEA in the letter sent on 10 November said the "illogical" and "anti-business" move will be a fresh blow to the country's apparel export.
Syed Nazrul Islam, first vice-president of BGMEA, informed the media about the letter Saturday.
"The hike without the approval of the tariff committee under the shipping ministry is unacceptable. The off-docks must have the committee go-ahead for any hike in container handling charges," argued the garment exporters.
The letter further states the abrupt hike will put the pandemic-hit apparel-makers in trouble in shipping their export orders.
In a circular on 8 November, Bicda announced a 23% hike in container handling charges with a retrospective effect from 4 November to adjust spiralled fuel prices.
Then Bicda President Nurul Qayyum Khan told The Business Standard that private off-dock owners got into difficulties following the fuel price hike.
"For us, the fuel hike means pricier transport and spiked operational costs of container handling equipment. We have increased the handling charge to adjust those costs," he said.
In a press release on Saturday, Bicda said diesel is used for all the segments of cargo handling, similar to the transportation sector.
"So, the 23% hike in container handling charges is in fact an inevitable adjustment. If we do not hike the rates, ICDs have no other way but to subsidise the amount to run their business," it added.
At the 19 private ICDs, exporting goods are loaded into containers and taken to Chattogram port for shipping. Besides, 37 types of imported goods including food items are brought to the off-docks from the port for unloading.
The ICDs are located within 1 to 26 kilometres of the port.