- CPA providing 24-hours service, doing well in handling consignment efficiently
- New machinery, automated systems have been introduced at the port
- NBR's port office not kept open on Saturday as supposed to
- Lack of testing lab at the port delays goods unloading
Inefficiency of service providers like the National Bureau of Revenue (NBR) and Bangladesh Customs is causing delays in goods unloading at Chattogram Port, the biggest trade gateway of the country, said businessmen and stakeholders.
The port authorities are doing well in handling consignment efficiently but other service providers are not working as needed, they said while speaking at a programme titled 'Developing Chattogram Port with Local Investment' on Tuesday organised by the Daily Ittefaq at the National Press Club.
"[The Chattogram] Port is now providing services 24 hours of a day. But NBR's port office is not kept open on Saturday as it is supposed to. This is causing delays in goods unloading," said Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, senior vice president, FBCCI.
Besides, he added that the lack of a testing lab at the port further exacerbates the delay in goods unloading as the products have to be brought to Dhaka for testing.
Also speaking on the occasion, Anjan Sekhar Das, director of Chittagong Chamber Of Commerce & Industry, said it is not enough if the port alone provides services efficiently. NBR and customs also need to work with the intent of providing services.
Rear Admiral Mohammad Shahjahan, chairman of Chattogram Port Authority, said in order to develop the port, it is necessary to develop other organisations related to it.
He said there is ample scope for domestic and foreign investment in various sections of the port, including off-dock construction.
Meanwhile, presenting the keynote essay at the event, Khairul Alam Sujan, vice president of Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association, said 93% of the country's import-export products by sea are handled by the Chattogram Port.
"New machinery additions and automated systems have been introduced at the port to handle the pressure. The quality of service has increased, and the time for clearing goods at the jetty and outer anchorage has decreased," he said.
However, he added that the port will not be able to use the inadequate and old jetties for long and a new terminal should be constructed quickly.
He also called on customs authorities to formulate policy support for managing goods unloading at the port.
Speaking as the chief guest at the programme, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said Bangladesh's maritime sector is going to enter a new phase by 2026-27. The port now remains open 24 hours a day.
He called on the Chattogram Port Authority, Bangladesh Customs authority and traders should work together to reduce port congestion.