The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA), which oversees Bangladesh’s largest seaport, raised storage rent in an attempt to speed up the movement of cargo through the facility and mitigate severe congestion and shipping delays. Bangladeshi importers claim that the delays are caused by insufficient container handling equipment and infrastructure at the port, as well as prolonged examination of cargo by customs officers. The CPA, however, blames clearing and forwarding agents for not expeditiously requesting the clearance of cargo, leaving a backup of several thousand containers well beyond Chittagong Port’s capacity. CPA figures indicate that the port is currently holding over 3,000 TEUs beyond its stated capacity, with many containers held outside designated storage areas.
BSI has reported on delays and other business continuity concerns at Chittagong Port in recent weeks. A strike by lighter vessel workers last week caused significant disruption to the offloading of cargo at the facility. In previous instances of port strikes in Bangladesh, BSI has noted consequent delays in cargo movement as significant container backlogs build up.