Chittagong seaport sees Covid-induced decline on container traffic

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The container traffic at the Chittagong port contracted by approximately 6.0 per cent in 2020 as the Covid-19 rattled movement.

The country’s main sea port witnessed the negative growth of containers for the very first time since the late 1970s.

The maritime facility handled a complete of 2.8 million 20-foot equivalent units in the year ending December 31, of them 1.5 million were import containers and the rest of the 1.3 million export carriers.

It handled a total of 3.0 million containers found in 2019. The port usually records double-digit growth, aside from single-digit expansion in a few years.

The port handles more than 92 % of the country’s foreign trade worth around US$100 billion dollars. And the contraction signifies that the whole economy was influenced by the pandemic. This is utilized as proxy indicators for calculating economic growth.

Officials in the traffic department in the CPA told the FE that both export and import were poor through the second and third quarter of the year, which is at this point picking up gradually.

They said the imports of extravagance goods such as toys were poor in the entire year.

However, shipping circle people believe that is mainly as a result of the Covid-19, however the ongoing global container crisis is normally another reason.

They said the shipping sector suffered much during April and May when the common monthly handling slumped to significantly less than 50 per cent.

Import also nosedived found in May, dipping by over 31 per cent to US$ 3.5 billion, relating to Bangladesh Bank.

They said the quantity of loaded shipment was practically 50,000 TEUs (20-foot products units) in June last, up by 7,000 TEUs from May

“Chittagong port usually handles around 120,000-130,000 TEUs a month, however in April and June it had been around 50,000 each month”, said Captain Since Chowdhury, country head of Singapore-based feeder service agency Seacon.

He said, “Our vessels even left the port taking significantly less export boxes through the period.”

“We predict that Bangladesh’s economy won't pick up in the primary quarter of 2021”, he said.

Shipping executives article the country’s trade to their mother or father organisaitons through thoughts and opinions survey with their customers.

In the meantime, various vessels withdrew their services to and from Chattogram in 2020 as they got less than predicted bookings for their fleets.

French-shipping giant CMA-CGM experienced postponed its offerings to and from Chattogram in 2020 before resuming services recently.

Cosco Shipping, a good Chinese shipping giant, has recently postponed its service to and from Chattogram and it has stopped taking booking from Europe designed for Chattogram.

Qatar-based shipping operator Milaha Maritime features discontinued its services to and from Chittagong on 2020.

The international shipping brand suspended its services, compelled by higher stay time of vessels at the Chittagong port.

Bangladesh’s export and import fell on 2020 in the aftermath of Covid-19.

The import, which is essential both for consumption and industrial purposes, has yet to gain pace.

Bangladesh Bank statistics show that July-November import contracted to practically 9.0 %, though export rose through the period by practically 1.0 % over corresponding period.

Abul Bashar Chowdhury, chairman at the Chittagong-based BSM Group said, “Even our very own import of vital goods was around 15 per cent less in 2020”.

Mr. Chowdhury, one of the leading commodity importers, explained his organization is in the problem as the huge freight fees triggered the container crisis.