The AFDG introduced from July 1 an "emergency cost recovery surcharge" of US$150 per TEU for laden containers and $75 per TEU for empty containers as congestion has worsened owing to draft restrictions preventing fully laden ships from entering and leaving Chittagong port, and an accident that took out half of the port's crane capacity.
"The above (surcharge) is necessary to enable members to recover the increasing costs," the AFDG said in a circular to its members, reported IHS Media.
In a letter to Chittagong's port chairman and the country's shipping secretary, the Shippers Council of Bangladesh (SCB) has asked the government to block the surcharges on the basis that they hamper trade and adversely affect the competitiveness of Bangladesh's exports.
The shippers' group also wants the government to ask the AFDG to refrain from such surcharges in the future without first consulting the shipping community.
"Exporters are worried about the new surcharge and they are largely affected," SCB chairman Rezaul Karim wrote in the letter. "The new surcharge will lessen our profit further," Mr Karim said.
An official at the ministry of shipping said that the Chittagong Port Authority has been officially asked to discuss the matter with the AFDG and a meeting to do so will take place soon.