The Chattogram Port has remained largely unscathed by the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The surge in virus cases has not affected the processing of ships or containers.

The Chattogram Port has remained largely unscathed by the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The surge in virus cases and deaths has not affected the processing of ships or containers, according to port officials. All goods at the port are processed in a quick and timely manner, reports.

In March 2020, when the first Covid-19 cases were detected in Bangladesh, the nation’s key port declared a general holiday and suspended operations for a period. During the second lockdown this year, the port remained open.

As export-oriented factories remained open during the lockdown, the port continued its regular container and cargo handling work, Chattogram Port Authority Secretary Omar Faruk said.

Container and cargo handling rose 7.7 per cent in March from a year earlier, while the number of ships arriving at and departing the harbour increased 2.7 per cent year-on-year in the same month, Faruk said.

The port handled 376 ships and 269,446 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) containers in March, up from 366 ships and 249,669 TEUs a year earlier. It processed 11.04 million tonnes of cargo in March, compared to 10.26 million tonnes a year earlier.

“Despite the growing pandemic, the Chattogram Port continues to work efficiently. It remains open 24 hours a day. The situation is much better than that of many other ports,” Faruk said.

Freight ships resumed their regular services at the end of March and the start of April last year but the processing of containers and cargo had ground to a standstill around that time, creating heavy delays at the port.

“This year there are almost no such delays. We made use of our experience from last year and have been able to maintain regular operations.”

It handled 3,559 TEUs on April 22, one of the days in the nationwide lockdown, according to the latest data from the port.

The port has handled about 2.8 million TEU containers, including both imports and exports, in fiscal 2019-20. In the same period, a total of 3,764 ships were processed at the port.

In 2020, the year the pandemic started, the port processed 3,728 ships and handled 2.84 million TEUs. In January this year, the port processed 368 ships, 356 in February and 376 in March.

Chattogram Port Authority Chairman Rear Admiral M Shahjahan, said that, thanks to everyone’s support, the port has been able to continue regular operations despite the second wave of the coronavirus sweeping through the country.

There are currently no delays in processing ships or containers and goods are being released in a timely fashion, he added.

Over 92 per cent of imports and exports of goods are processed through the Chattogram Port. It is also responsible for processing 98 per cent of containers in Bangladesh.

Source: maritimegateway