The Chattogram port authorities have called upon importers to take quick delivery of dangerous goods in order to keep port activities normal.

In a letter to the Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, and clearing and forwarding agents, the Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) mentioned that the clearance of containers carrying hazardous materials has slowed in recent times.

Currently, 1,571 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of dangerous goods brought in by importers are lying inside the port, according to the letter signed by the port’s terminal manager.

To prevent accidents, cargoes must be packed according to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code with accurate information, the letter says.

According to the guidelines of the Bangladesh Navy and other related organisations, fast delivery of dangerous cargoes is essential for the safety of the port establishments.

TBS called CPA Secretary Md Omar Farooq on his mobile phone for comments, but he did not answer.

Kazi Mahmud Imam Bilu, secretary general of Chattogram Customs C&F Agents Association, said the dangerous goods stuck at the port include various products such as industrial chemicals and fuel.

“Due to the global trade slowdown, industrial production has been less than before. Hence importers are taking more time than before to take delivery of the goods,” he added.

The storage, transportation, and delivery of cargo carrying dangerous goods at the Chattogram port came into discussion after the accident at Lebanon’s Beirut Port in 2020. Despite issuing instructions several times, there has been no change in delivery at the Chattogram port.

The matter of the dangerous goods cargo was again discussed in June 2022, after the loss of 51 lives due to a hydrogen peroxide explosion at the BM Container Depot, a private inland container depot.

The incident prompted different shipping companies to stop transporting such cargoes. The Singapore Port Authority also temporarily stopped the storage of hazardous cargoes from Bangladesh.

Also, the CPA held a meeting with all stakeholders, including representatives of all business organisations at the port building. The port authorities have issued 18 instructions to importers, exporters, shipping agents, C&F agents, and related parties in dangerous goods cargo transportation.

Among these instructions was the requirement to release all imported hazardous materials within 72 hours of their arrival at the port.

Businesses were asked not to transport such cargoes in any damaged container and to ensure the permission of the Bangladesh Navy with the necessary documents 24 hours before unloading the cargoes.

Following the instructions of the Bangladesh Navy and the Department of Explosives, disposing of all types of hazardous goods and perishable goods at the first auction and spot auctioning were among the instructions.
Source: The Business Standard