Ships without gears have to wait four days before docking in Chittagong

Gearless container feeder ships face three to four day delays when docking at the port of Chittagong.

Operators claim this means costs are increasing due to the Port Authority’s “discriminatory” policy.

About 45 gearless feeder vessels operate to and from the port of Chittagong and the transhipment ports of Colombo, Singapore, Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas to transport containers to and from the mother ships.

However, shipowners claim that the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) gives priority to the berthing of flagship ships and vessels sailing from the port directly to Europe.

There are seven berths with essential gantry cranes, but three are used for ‘immediate priority berthing’, reducing the available space for gearless vessels to just four berths. However, as imports increase, operators claim that this is not enough.

Stakeholders say the additional costs from the delays are between $10,000 and $15,000 per day, which could push up commodity prices.

Transmarine Logistics, an agent of Yang Ming, wrote to the Association of Shipping Companies on Tuesday, pointing out the significant delays. It states: “The late arrival of incoming shipments clearly hinders production activities, which will affect the preparation of export cargo and delivery times, which could negatively affect export earnings.”

Syed Mohammad Arif, Chairman of the Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association, said The Loadstar He had raised the problem with the Port Authority and sought immediate resolution of the problem.

“The sudden increase (in the number) of ships arriving has exacerbated the problem,” he said, adding that priority berthing is another problem.

Meanwhile, the World Shipping Council (WSC) has raised serious concerns about the impact of the new Bangladesh flag rules, which have already caused problems including reduced competition in shipping services to and from Bangladesh, delays, congestion and other operational disruptions.

In a letter to Bangladesh’s Minister of Shipping, the WSC said these consequences would have a significant negative impact on Bangladesh’s importers and exporters and ultimately on an economy so heavily dependent on foreign trade.

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