Sri Lanka has sought assistance from Bangladesh to facilitate emergency shipment of liquid chlorine from the Chittagong port as reserves of the water-purification chemical are almost exhausted in the crisis-hit neighbouring country.
The High Commission of Sri Lanka in Dhaka sent a note verbale to the foreign ministry of Bangladesh on July 01, requesting the government to help ship the chemical product urgently.
The crisis-hit country sought the assistance as the shipping lines were refusing to carry the chemical products following the recent devastating fire incident at a private container terminal in Chattogram.
It noted that Bangladesh supplied liquid chlorine in the recent past for water purification in Sri Lanka.
Due to the limited liquid chlorine reserves available in Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Industries in Sri Lanka has requested its high commission to transport such liquid from Bangladesh as soon as possible.
The High Commission also sought facilitating transportation of the liquid chlorine from Bangladesh to Sri Lanka.
Currently, according to the communication, shipping chemicals including liquid chlorine are restricted due to the recent explosion at the private ICD in Chattogram.
"This is not exactly a government restriction. In fact, the shipping lines are reluctant to carry certain chemical products following the incident at BM container depot," a senior executive of a local chemical products manufacturer and exporter told the FE on Sunday.
Import of chemical products is also facing difficulties due to the reason, he added.
Meanwhile, the High Commission in its communication said that a freight forwarding agent, Repan Reliable Logistics (Bangladesh), has informed them that they were in a position to obtain the approval from the Bangladesh Navy and sought support of this mission (Sri Lankan) to get approval of Bangladesh Customs for shipping the cargo.
It also mentioned that the vessel owners concerned were refusing to ship the chemicals by their vessels due to the same incident.
The mission contacted Payel Pasha, Deputy Commissioner (who is handling chemical-related matters) of the National Board of Revenue, who clearly explained that no such restriction has been imposed on the export of chemicals, including liquid chlorine, by the government of Bangladesh.
Mr. Pasha also checked with the Chittagong Depot and confirmed that there is no issue at the Chittagong Depot as well.
The mission also spoke with Aneez Abdullah, Director of HR Line Limited. The freight forwarding agency is working with this company to ship the items to Sri Lanka.
Mr. Abdullah clearly and quite firmly stated that the vessels have no interest to ship this particular cargo due to the incident that occurred in Chattogram.
He mentioned that although there are no restrictions from the Navy and Customs, it is hard to reverse the decision of the vessel owners, according to the letter.