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Bangladesh import collapse results in acute lack of export boxes

AN acute shortage of containers is threatening Bangladesh's export rebound amid a slowing of imports due to the Covid crisis

09 November 2020 - 19:00

AN acute shortage of containers is threatening Bangladesh's export rebound amid a slowing of imports due to the Covid crisis. reports IHS Media.

Carriers have been forced to manage the shortage by importing empty containers from the nearest hub ports and pushing importers for faster delivery of empty boxes.



The decline in imports amid a drop in domestic demand has created the shortage of containers, with some small carriers reportedly seeing up to a 35 per cent deficit of the required boxes.



In October, some 105,539 TEU of goods were imported through Chittagong, down 17 per cent from 127,234 TEU a year ago. Imports have fallen steadily since March, as the Covid crisis swept the globe.



While exports from Bangladesh were also ravaged due to the global demand destruction, outbound shipments began to recover in July. Some 55,622 TEU of goods were exported through Chittagong last month, up almost six per cent over the same month last year.



Mohammed Abdullah Jahir, general manager of PIL Bangladesh, said main line operators (MLOs) have high demand for FEU high cube units for exports, especially apparel goods.



'Some MLOs are managing the shortage by import de-stuffing, while some are providing containers only to priority customers,' he said.



Ahsanul Huq Chowdhury, chairman of the Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association (BS), said the equipment imbalance will not resolve until imports improve. Mr Chowdhury said big carriers are meeting box demand by importing empty containers from the nearest hub ports.


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