Exports and imports through the Chattogram port have reached pre-pandemic levels, riding on an ongoing recovery in global trade.
In August this year, the country's premier port handled 2,76,690 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containers in contrast to 2,41,867 TEUs in the same month a year ago, according to the Chattogram Port Authority.
In January-March 2020, the number was 2,59,000 TEUs on an average before the pandemic had hit the country.
Md Omar Faruk, secretary of Chattagram Port Authority (CPA), told The Business Standard, "The export-import activities through the port are returning to normal. Container handling has already reached the pre-pandemic levels. We hope that our business volume will increase further if no further new wave of Covid-19 gets in the way."
Chattogram customs house's revenue collection crossed Tk4,410 crore in August 2021, up from Tk3,265 crore a year ago and Tk2,927 crore in 2019.
Mohammad Fakhrul Alam, commissioner at the Chattogram Customs, told TBS, "We are very much happy to have achieved nearly 35% growth."
CPA Secretary Omar Faruk said container handling will increase by 4.5 lakh TEUs next year when the construction of the Patenga container terminal will be completed.
Businessmen said they are relieved the country's export and import activities through the port made a turnaround after a long hold-up.
Port activities were about to get normal this January when container handling reached 2,80,222 TEUs – just shy of a few thousands from a year ago, but the advent of the second wave then played spoilsport, taking businesses to a halt, according to port authorities and Chattogram customs.
Now, with the Covid-19 situation improving both locally and internationally, activities at the port have got back on track, they said.
Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Vice-President Syed Mohammad Tanvir said, "All over the world the Covid-19 situation is improving, business activities resumed and exports and imports through the Chattogram port also increased."
In April 2020, container handling dropped to 1,32,921 TEUs from 2,85,979 TEUs in January after the government had declared a countrywide shutdown to contain Covid-19.
Chattogram Customs Commissioner Fakhrul Alam said, "Our team is working to create an honest and business-friendly environment. We have made utmost effort in maintaining consistency in revenue collection. As a result, it has been possible to achieve growth. We will try to maintain this trend till the end of the financial year."
CCCI President Mahbubul Alam said, "Positive growth is good news for our economy. It has been proved that we are recovering from the pandemic-induced losses month by month. This success must be sustained. For this, all stakeholders will have to work sincerely."