15-hr banking at all ports

| Updated: February 08, 2019 12:57:19

- FE file photo - FE file photo

Bank branches at land and seaports will remain open 15 hours a day to facilitate faster delivery of goods and simplify commercial activities.

The decision was made at a meeting on Wednesday as part of the government's move for ease of doing business.

Chaired by state minister for shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, the meeting was told that land and seaports are now open 24 hours a day.

Since bank branches stay open during office hours from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, businesses cannot carry out banking transactions after office hours.

After discussion, the meeting decided that the bank branches there will remain open from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm to facilitate the business activities.

The meeting also decided to install adequate scanners at entries into Chittagong, Mongla and Benapole ports to scan containers quickly.

It discussed delivery of full container load (FCL) containers to off docks located outside port yard, launch of green channel at Chittagong port and cut in physical verification of containers.

Issues like quick auction of vehicles and containers by customs department and automation of land ports also came up for discussion.

Officials said 12-15 per cent of containers is physically verified by customs officials at the country's premier port.

Apart from Chittagong Customs House officials, the intelligence wing of customs department also physically verifies containers at port yard on information of misdeclaration of goods.

As a result, containers remain at the yard for days and even weeks occupying space, they said.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal recently told businesses that no container would be allowed to leave a port without scanning.

To do so, he said, a good number of scanners would be set up at port gates.

Chittagong Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Mahbubul Alam earlier told the FE that businesses welcomed the decision of scanning all containers.

If adequate scanners are installed at all gates, he said, containers would be delivered very quickly.

That would also help reduce significantly the need for physical verification of containers, which spends a lot of time, Mr Alam said.

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