Chittagong container depot owners are now in trouble as some of the shipping lines are refusing to carry hydrogen peroxide after the depot fire and blast which killed around 48 people and injured hundreds earlier this month.
According to Bangladesh Inland Container Depot Association (BICDA), the depots now have 111 TEU of hydrogen peroxide laden boxes which were supposed to be shipped by this time.
However, several lines have verbally informed the depot owners that they will not carry the containers.
Meantime, on 9 June, the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) in a letter to all shipping lines informed about the imposition of restriction on storage of hydrogen peroxide laden boxes in its yards citing the over capacity.
“Following the recent fatal explosion on 4 June 2022 at one of the container facilities in Bangladesh, we have observed a significant spike in the number of containers containing hydrogen peroxide being discharged in PSA Terminals,” said the authority.
PSA added that hydrogen peroxide is an explosive precursor controlled by Singapore Police Force (SPF). There is a quantity limit permitted by SPF for licensed storage in PSA Terminals. The spike has resulted in a rising stockpile of hydrogen peroxide in PSA yards.
“To keep this DG inventory level within the safety limit prescribed by the authorities, we need to take immediate measure to stop accepting Hydrogen Peroxide containers until the inventory level goes back to normal,” PSA noted in the letter.
After this letter is issued, the liner operators virtually stopped to load the hydrogen peroxide laden containers from Chittagong creating uncertainty over their shipment in time.
BICDA secretary general, Ruhul Amin Sikder said private sector depots have been handling export import containers during the last two decades and this is for the first time such a fatal incident occurred in Bangladesh’s shipping sector.
He pointed out that if the shipping lines continue refusing to carry these containers, the exporters will have no other option but to take them back to their warehouses or factories.
Bangladesh annually exports hydrogen peroxide worth US$22 million to countries like India, Pakistan and Vietnam.
Meantime, the investigation committee of BM Container Depot Ltd found that there were 37 hydrogen peroxide laden boxes inside the depot before the deadly incident occurred, and after the fire could be extinguished finally only 12 of them were found undamaged.
Additionally, they found that depot owners did not follow rules regarding storing chemical laden box storage and they stored those alongside boxes laden with other cargoes.
Source: Container News