Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA) has increased the charges for container handling by 23% citing the recent fuel price hike and increase in other export-import costs.
The owners of 19 private inland container depots (ICDs) in Chattogram – following a virtual meeting on Tuesday – issued a circular announcing the new rates of five service charges with retrospective effect from 4 November.
"The cost of vehicles and equipment management of the private off-docks have increased following the price hike of diesel and kerosene.
"Therefore, the additional charges have been imposed to cover the additional fuel costs," BICDA President Nurul Qayyum Khan told The Business Standard on Wednesday.
Bangladesh Freight Forwarder Association (BAFA) and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) have termed the move "illogical" as it will exponentially increase import-export costs.
As per the new tariffs, the transport charge for a 20-foot container (between the port and depot) has been increased to Tk1,415 from Tk1,150.
Haulage charge for a 40-foot container has been hiked from Tk2,300 to Tk2,830.
Expressing frustration over the sudden decision, Chattogram-based Clifton Group CEO and Director MDM Mohiuddin Chowdhury, said, "Costs are growing uncontrollably. The situation is becoming very difficult. This [BICDA tariff hike] is the ultimate blow to our business."
"This trend is evident everywhere. The cost of doing business is seeing a constant rise. Who will control who?
"I don't see any hope for this situation to be brought under control," he added.
Also, export stuffing package charges for a 20-foot container have been increased from Tk4,140 to Tk5,092.
The rate has been adjusted to Tk6,790 from Tk5,520 for a 40-foot container.
Meanwhile, for the lift on/off services, the charge for 20 and 40-foot containers has been raised to Tk425 from Tk345.
Tariff for the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) service has been hiked from Tk1,150 to Tk1,415.
Contacted, BAFA Vice President Khairul Alam Sujan said, "According to existing policies, all concerned stakeholders have to agree and meetings have to be held in order to increase any tariffs.
"But BICDA took the decision without consulting with anyone. Exporters will suffer the most due to this 23% hike."
BGMEA Vice President Rakibul Alam Chowdhury echoed Sujan.
He said, "This move has pushed the country's RMG sector towards a new crisis. It is illogical to increase charges during such difficult times.
"We demand immediate withdrawal of the hikes service charges."