Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has recently requested global apparel buyers to nominate more shipping liners and off-docks to help timely shipment of export containers.
The apparel apex body made the request through Buyers' Forum, a group of the representatives of major apparel buyers, including H&M and M&S in the country, saying that export containers loaded with readymade garment (RMG) products are facing delay at Chattogram port due to their selective nomination for shipping lines and off-docks.
The request came after the Chattogram Port Authority asked the trade body to discuss the issue with Buyers' Forum so that they (buyers) do not nominate a single shipping line or forwarder to avoid a monopoly situation in shipment and help speedy release and timely shipments of exportable goods.
On July 28, the CPA also gave the same instruction to the BGMEA for its move to split off-docks nomination by buyers among all to reduce pressure on single ones.
The CPA sent the letter to the BGMEA in line with the decision of a meeting on speedy shipment of export containers from various off-docks held on July 12.
When asked, Syed Nazrul Islam, senior vice president of BGMEA, said they have already discussed the issue with Buyers' Forum and requested them to select more nominations from among all the forwarders and off-docs to ensure speedy shipment of export containers.
He said many of the brands source garment products worth over billion dollars from the country but they nominate one or two shipping lines or forwarders.
They also allowed four to five off-docks to ship their products, he said, adding that as a result, shipment has been delayed apart from payment.
Echoing Mr Islam, Md Shahidullah Azim, managing director of Classic Fashion Concept Ltd, said delayed shipment also caused additional charges for the exporters.
Citing an example of one of the top buyers, he said the brands buy apparel products worth more than $3 billion from Bangladesh and they nominate one shipping line which is doing business with only two or three off-docks for the shipment of export containers.
"These create congestion in selective off-docks which also takes 10-15 more days to ship export containers," he said.
Due to pressure on selective off-docks, it takes additional 10-15 days to ship export containers and exporters face additional charges at port, said Mr Azim, also vice president of BGMEA.
There are 19 off-docks at Chittagong port while five to six face pressure due to buyers' nomination, the BGMEA leaders said, adding that the rest capacity remained unused or less used.