The prolonged stay of export cargoes and export loaded containers at private inland container depots (ICDs) is causing operational hindrances in Chittagong.
Currently, the existing 19 ICDs or off-docks are handling almost all of Bangladesh’s export goods. Services rendered by ICDs include:
- Receiving export goods at container freight stations (CFS)
- Consolidation and sorting
- Facilitation of customs formalities, including assessment and inspection of export goods by customs officers
- Placement of designated containers as per the requirements of forwarders
- Stuffing of export goods into containers
- Sealing of loading containers
- Storage of export loaded containers at the yard
- Dispatch of export loaded containers to Chittagong Port to be loaded onto designated vessels
This is a vast and significant array of operational activities. Additionally, ICDs handle 25% of import goods and collectively store a stock of empty containers, which is 10x the empty container stock of Chittagong Port.
In order to ensure smooth operational flow, export cargoes should not stay in the CFS of the ICDs for longer than 2-3 days. When export cargoes stay for longer than this period, it negatively impacts not only operational dynamics but also the overall productivity of the ICDs.
Additionally, it is essential that ICDs have an adequate supply of empty containers and receive nominations of vessels / ships against the loaded / stuffed export containers in a timely manner.
Delays in getting cargo loading plans (CLPs) from forwarders
For several months, ICDs have been receiving export goods but the concerned forwarders have been slow in providing cargo loading plans (CLPs). This means that the export goods stay within the CFS for longer, which results in the CFS becoming stretched beyond capacity, and trucks with new export cargoes coming to the off-docks are then delayed in unloading. This has led to the total operational cycle becoming “sluggish” and is impacting the productivity of ICDs. Trucks / covered vans have suffered delays in unloading.
Shortage of designated containers for stuffing of export goods
The shortage of designated containers to stuff export goods is exacerbating the situation. Although the total empty stock in all the off-docks is close to 40,000 TEUs, it has become difficult to locate the designated empty containers required for the stuffing of export goods.
Delays in getting nomination of the vessels / ships against export loaded containers
After the stuffing of export goods into the designated containers, the ICDs send a stuffing report to the relevant shipping lines to obtain the nomination of vessels against the export loaded containers. Subsequently, they send the export containers to Chittagong Port for loading onto designated vessels. ICDs have been experiencing delays in getting the nomination of the vessels, which has led to the export laden yards overflowing. This is putting a great deal of stress on the performance of ICDs.
We continue to monitor the situation and will keep you updated. Should you have any queries relating to specific bookings, please contact our Customer teams.