Ships leave Chittagong half empty, factories remain closed

As factories in Bangladesh remain closed due to the Eid-ul-Azha holiday this week, ships have been forced to leave Chittagong port half-empty due to lack of cargo.

The factories closed on June 26 and won’t reopen until this weekend.

However, shipping officials said ships will not be fully loaded until late next week and factories will need three to four days to produce goods.

Some agents have asked vessels to wait two to three days at the port’s outer anchorage in hopes of amassing another 200 to 300 TEUs while waiting, a source said.

An official at a major shipping company in Chittagong said The Loadstar this morning that its 2,000 Teu vessel was only receiving 600 to 700 TEUs of exports, compared to 1,500 TEUs or more normally.

“In addition, there is a shortage of empty containers, as importers do not receive any deliveries during the holiday season. We don’t even get empty containers to ship,” he said.

Cargo sent to depots before the Eid festival is now being shipped out of the port, resulting in even fewer containers at the dockyards.

Ruhul Amin Sikder (Biplob), secretary-general of the Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA), said depots in Chittagong normally ship up to 2,500 teu of export goods per day, but as of earlier this week it had averaged just 1,300 teu.

“We can say that ships are currently only using half of their container capacity,” he said.

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