Bangladesh has started exporting fruit using reefer containers for the first time in the country’s history. In the past, only potatoes packed in containers were exported by sea. Normally vegetables and fruits like mango are exported by air.
On March 17, watermelons and tomatoes were exported to Malaysia in a short sea sailing for seven to ten days.
Abdul Kaium, owner of exporter Sattar International, said 13.32 tons of watermelon and 700 tons of tomatoes were shipped to Malaysia in one container. From the watermelon alone, the exporter will pocket $4,000 in this show.
He pointed out that a significant amount of watermelon is produced in Bangladesh and if transporting watermelon by water is found to be successful, the country can export huge amounts of fruits such as watermelon, lychee, banana and jackfruit earn foreign exchange. which are abundantly produced in Bangladesh.
“Our goal is to earn foreign exchange by shipping non-traditional export items,” Kaium pointed out.
The last time watermelons were exported by air was in 2014. Since then, no watermelon has been exported from Bangladesh for the past eight years.
Nasir Ahmed Khan, director of the Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association (BFFA), said the country has prospects of earning a good amount of foreign exchange from fruit exports. However, since fruit is a perishable commodity, shipping it by sea is risky, even if it is transported in refrigerated containers.
“From Bangladesh, fruits can be sent to the nearest countries such as Middle Eastern countries, Malaysia, Singapore and other South Asian countries by waterway,” he noted. “Seven-to-10-day short-sea transportation of fruit is suitable,” Khan said, adding that otherwise there is a chance that the fruit will rot inside.