After two months of suspension following the fatal fire and explosion at BM Container Depot in Chattogram, the Port of Singapore has resumed accepting containers full of hydrogen peroxide at its terminals.
PSA Corporation Limited, which operates container terminals at the Port of Singapore, issued a notification in this regard on Wednesday.
Most of the consignments of hydrogen peroxide, via the Chattogram Port, are exported to Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Port of Singapore is very vital for Bangladesh as the main hydrogen peroxide export destinations – including locations in Europe and America – maintain Singapore as their primary transhipment point.
"This circular supersedes HCSD/CC/L2205 on hydrogen peroxide restriction, with immediate effect. Following the restriction on 9 Jun 2022, the inventory level for hydrogen peroxide has been closely monitored and kept within safe levels.
Acceptance of hydrogen peroxide (UN No.: 2014, 2015, 3149) has resumed for all shipments," the PSA Corporation notification reads.
Speaking with The Business Standard, Chairman of Bangladesh Shipping Agents' Association (BSAA) Syed Mohammad Arif said, "The embargo issued in June resulted in a lot of complications.
"We have instructed shipping agents to ensure proper transportation and storage of hydrogen peroxide in compliance with all national and international regulations."
Earlier, 46 people, including fire service personnel, were killed and more than 200 injured in a fire that broke out at the BM Container Depot in Sitakunda, Chattogram on 4 June. The source of the explosion was hydrogen peroxide in the depot.
Then on 9 June, PSA issued a notification stating that storage of hydrogen peroxide at the port had gone beyond the limit and so it was halting the transhipment through the port for the time being.
According to The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), Bangladesh exported hydrogen peroxide worth $13.9 million in 2020. The country ranks 17th in the export of the chemical worldwide which is mainly used in the bleaching and disinfection process of the textile, paper and pulp industry.
It is the 89th most exported product in the country which goes to countries including India, Nepal, Malaysia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh also ranks 65th in terms of importing hydrogen peroxide from other countries. In 2020, the country imported this chemical worth $656,000 mostly from Thailand, Japan, Netherlands, South Korea and India.