Bangladesh’s readymade garment exporters have opposed the charge increase by feeder vessel operators for outbound and inbound shipments.
The feeder vessel operators increased rent for containers to and from Chattogram in the name of emergency cost recovery surcharge (ECRS) amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association claimed that the fee increase would impact the export competitiveness badly.
The BGMEA on November 19 in a letter to the Chattogram Port Authority termed the ECRS illogical and unacceptable and the trade body demanded withdrawing the surcharge.
The letter signed by the BGMEA first Vice-President Mohammed Abdus Salam said that the feeder vessel operators working in Chattogram-Colombo-Singapore and Port Klang routes had imposed $75 for each goods-laden container and $37.50 for each empty one as the ECRS became effective on November 15.
Transworld Feeders, one of the leading container feeder service providers, on November 4 informed its customers that the ECRS $75 for each loaded container and $37.50 for each empty one would be charged from November 16 on its Chattogram-Colombo-Chattogram route.
$70 for each loaded container and $35 for each empty one would be charged on its Chattogram-Singapore-Port Klang route from November 20, it also said.
Feeder service providers said that they had been forced to impose ECRS as most of the vessels were seeing a berthing delay of over 48 hours in Colombo and nearly 36 hours in Singapore due to congestion.
Apparel exporters said that the surcharge would hit hurt the export sector as they were struggling to recover their business from the COVID-19 outbreak.
The BGMEA requested authorities concerned to stop the additional charge collection by the feeder vessel operators saying that exporters would lose their competitiveness on the global market due to the charged amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Bangladesh has no deep-sea port and depends on feeder vessels to transport goods to and from transshipment ports located in Singapore, Colombo and Port Klang.