Bangladesh shippers are protesting after feeder vessel operators imposed surcharges to recover increasing costs due to delays.
Since the beginning of July an “emergency cost recovery surcharge” of $150/teu for laden containers and $75/teu for empty containers from Singapore/Port Klang and Colombo to Chittagong has been imposed by feeder operators after their ships’ average time in port increased by 43.1% to 84.3 hours.
Delays have been experienced since the beginning of the year caused by draft restrictions and an accident that has halved the port’s crane capacity.
The Shippers Council of Bangladesh have denounced the surcharges, which have been imposed without consultation by the Asian Feeder Discussion Group (AFDG), and asked the government to block them on the basis they hamper trade and adversely affect the competitiveness of Bangladesh’s exports.
“Exporters are worried about the new surcharge and they are largely affected,” SCB chairman Rezaul Karim commented. “The new surcharge will lessen our profit further.”
Negotiations over sales are done months before goods are shipped, so if any surcharge is levied without prior notice, the exporter has to bear it from his profit margin.
The SCB position is that under regulations of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, feeder service providers cannot impose such surcharges without discussion with shippers.
The Chittagong Port Authority has been instructed by the ministry of shipping to discuss the matter with the AFDG and a meeting to do so will take place soon.