Country Report Bangladesh January 1996 Main report

Transport & Communications: Chittagong port to a near-standstill

Chittagong, the country's main port, has been brought close to a standstill recently by the unplanned and unregulated growth of traffic on both land and sea. The result of this has been a slowing of trade, with the situation exacerbated by the frequent opposition-led blockades and hartals (sit-down strikes). Garment exporters complain that the turnaround time for ships docking at the port is eight to 14 days, while the sea journey from Singapore is only six to seven days. This has led to garment manufacturers incurring higher costs as they have been charged a congestion surcharge from the shipping lines on imported raw materials and have been forced to send their exports by air freight to avoid serious delays. Another problem afflicting the port is rampant pilferage, suspected of being carried out by organised gangs with the collusion of corrupt port and customs officials.

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