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Shipping agents put CPA in the dock

Monday, 27 July 2015 | 10:00
Agents of international shipping lines lodged a complaint against the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) about flouting rules in allocating berths to ships, particularly on ground of transhipment priorities.

They sought the port authority's necessary steps to ensure berthing of vessels by following due procedures, amid mounting frustration in the local shipping offices.

Such anomalies, they lamented, are causing rise in the turnaround time and operational losses to a great extent.

Currently, a berthing congestion has been created in the country's commercial lifeline as the seaport has very little spaces to store containers and cargoes at its yards for slow delivery.

Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association (BSA), a platform of local agents of international shipping firms, already lodged a formal complaint over the matter on July 22.

They said at least two vessels were victims of such breach of rules in a week.

They named Maersk Line vessel MV Torres Strait that berthed on July 17 although it came to outer anchorage on July 14.

But Ming Sing vessel named MV Irrawaddy was allowed for berthing on July 16 although it had arrived on July 15.

The association also mentioned another vessel of K Line, MV Ayuttha Bridge, which reached the outer anchorage on July 15 but got a berth five days later on July 21.

On the other hand, a vessel named MV Taung GY1 arrived on July 20 and got berth just the following day.

Contacted about the complaints, CPA spokesperson Jafar Alam told the FE that he did not see the BSA complaint letter.

"I will be available at the office next Monday and then I will give you detailed comments on the issue," he said.

However, the FE obtained a copy of the BSA complaint letter, which refutes the port authority's grounds for preferential treatment to certain vessels.

It reads: "We were informed by our members that the Berthing Allotment Committee of the CPA is taking such type of illogical decision on ground of giving preference to vessels carrying transhipment cargoes. But it is fact that almost every vessel carries transhipment cargo and thus there isn't ground to give preference to vessel of any particular line."

The shipping firms said the violation of procedures in terms of berthing was subjecting the parties concerned to serious adverse effects.

They said such decision will cast serious adverse impacts on the whole queue of vessels, resulting in abnormal delay for many of the vessels.

Vessel operators will face serious problems in timely discharge of import cargos and sailing of vessels with export cargos on voyage schedule, the complainants feared.

The agents said the vessels would not be able to connect mother vessels at mother ports of export cargos loaded from Chittagong seaport.

The shipping agents pointed out that garment manufacturers would be seriously impacted in receiving imports of raw materials on time and shipment of finished products as per their production and export schedules.

"If the violation continues, it will result in cancellation of shipment orders by foreign buyers or increase in the chances of air shipment," said Sahed Sarwar, executive director at the Tokyo-based K-Line.

According to port statistics, usually, on average, 12-13 vessels arrive at the port outer anchorage each day and wait for berths.

But the port has capacity to allow 10 vessels at its 10 berths, leaving the rest in a wasteful wait.
Source: The Financial Express
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