In good news for apparel importers, the suspension on direct air cargo between Bangladesh and the UK has been lifted.
The ban has been in place since March 2016 because of concerns that cargo was not being properly screened, before being loaded onto aircraft.
Early last week, the British high commissioner in Bangladesh confirmed that the UK had lifted the ban following co-operation with the government of Bangladesh on the standards of aviation security at Dhaka International Airport and that the UK government will continue to work with the government of Bangladesh to support ongoing improvement in standards for all aspects of aviation security.
It has been reported in the press that Bangladesh will need to undergo three joint safety assessments per year.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines, which is the main carrier offering direct UK-Bangladesh services, and the airport export cargo warehouse still need to gain the European Union’s third-country regulated agent certification before it could offer cargo services to the UK.
It is understood that certain areas of the warehouse have been approved and the certificate is in the process of being issued.
Biman Bangladesh Managing Director AM Mosaddique Ahmed has confirmed that an ACC3 correspondent came to audit Biman and that he is expecting to get clearance by the first week of March, after which the airline can start direct cargo flights to the UK.
These developments are good news for exporters who have had to pay additional surcharges to have their cargo screened in a third country before being transported to the UK, which has also lengthened transport times.
They will also be hopeful the move could lead other countries that have placed a ban on direct exports from Bangladesh to lift their bans.
Bangladesh remains on the EU’s list of high-risk countries, which means that all exports must be screened by x-ray machines and explosive detection systems.