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Ctg port ship arrivals plunge 30pc as dollar crisis strangles trade

Tuesday, 21 November 2023 | 01:00

Chittagong port, the country’s premier maritime gateway for international trades, has witnessed a recent decline in ship-berthing activities, due mostly to a slowdown in import volumes.

According to industry stakeholders and sources, the ongoing dollar crisis is one of the key factors impeding the opening of letters of credit (LCs), leading to reduced imports and consequently fewer ship arrivals.

Sources said ship arrivals at the port have dropped by around 30 per cent in recent times. This decline is directly linked to the import slowdown triggered by the dollar crisis.
Consequently, all container jetties for general cargo berths remain vacant, a sharp contrast to the earlier scenario where ships faced waiting days to secure a berth.

The port’s four container jetties for general cargo berths had no vessels on Saturday.

Sources said that the number of open cargo ships to the port has dropped compared to previous periods. Business entities and importers are fighting with LC opening hurdles, leading to diminished imports and consequentially fewer ships calling at Chittagong port.

Chittagong port has 13 general berths, three jetties at Chittagong Container Terminal (CCT), five jetties at Neumooring Container Terminal (NCT), two Dolphin Jetties and six river mooring jetties. Of the 17 original jetties, jetty no 1 is no longer operational and jetty 12 is not utilised for berthing.

Currently, only three cargo ships occupy jetty 2 (Sparna), jetty 3 (Brabus) and jetty 4 (Omari). Two ships departed from Chittagong port jetties on Saturday. Four container ships were docked at jetty 9, 10, 11 and 13 on Sunday. NCT berths four ships, while CCT accommodates two.

Recalling the Covid-era slowdown, importers said the current port situation is unprecedented in regular times.

Mahfuzul Haque Shah, director of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said ship berthing activities at Chittagong port have reduced around 30 per cent. He pointed the finger at recent import slowdown, primarily triggered by the dollar crisis and LC opening challenges.

Alamgir Parvej, an importer and a CCCI director, echoes the same, noting the drastic reduction in LC volumes due to the dollar crisis, consequently impacting goods imports.

He also pointed to the global economic downturn as a factor contributing to the decline in both exports and the overall movement of ships at the port.

Chittagong port handles over 92 per cent of Bangladesh’s export and import cargoes. During the last fiscal year (2022-23), the port witnessed 4,253 ship arrivals, compared to 4,231 arrivals in the fiscal year 2021-22.
Source: The Financial Express

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