Regular operation at Chattogram Port is on the way to regaining usual speed as container delivery and handling resumed in full scale from Monday night as the transport strike was called off.
Officials are hopeful that the port will return to complete normalcy in a day or two.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), however, is warning that the country might fall short in achieving its November garment export target of $4 billion due to the strike.
Goods transport between Chattogram Port and inland container depots (ICDs) resumed around 10.00 pm Monday after leaders of the goods-carrying vehicles owners-workers association postponed their strike following a meeting with Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal at the secretariat. The strike was called against a recent hike in fuel price.
In 24 hours after the strike was postponed, container delivery at the port jumped 46% compared to the previous day, while container handling increased 55%, according to data released by port authorities.
At least 10,700 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of export-bound containers got stranded 19 private ICDs since Friday morning amid the strike.
Port data says 3,011 TEUs of containers entered the port by Tuesday 8 am after the strike was postponed, compared to 1,713 TEUs on Sunday. In addition, 5,472 TEUs of containers have been handled in the meantime, compared to 2,472 TEUs on the previous day.
"A few containers were delivered during the strike. But trucks, covered vans and prime movers only began to enter the port to take out cargo deliveries after the strike was postponed. Hopefully, the situation will return to complete normalcy in a day or two," said Md Omar Faruque, secretary, Chittagong Port Authorities.
Meanwhile, thousands of goods transporting vehicles queued on Tuesday at all 12 port gates creating a long traffic jam that stretched nearly 15 kilometres.
Waiting to return to Dhaka with goods containers at New Mooring Container Terminal (NCT) at noon yesterday, covered van driver Khairul Islam told The Business Standard he arrived at Chattogram to deliver export-bound goods from Dhaka on Monday and got stuck at the port due to the strike.
"I was planning to enter the port on Tuesday after delivering the goods at the Incontrade depot in Patenga. But I could not due to the strike by transport workers," he said. "I am now returning to Dhaka with loaded goods."
The postponement of the transport strike also brought relief to importers, exporters, and owners of readymade garments factories and inland depots, as more containers are leaving the port.
"On Monday, three feeder vessels left the port without taking in 1400 containers listed on the shipping schedule. The number of such containers came down to 300 on Tuesday," said Ruhul Amin Sikdar, secretary-general of Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA).