Apparel makers have demanded the withdrawal of emergency cost recovery surcharges (ECRS) imposed by feeder vessel operators on Bangladesh's outbound and inbound shipments.
Feeder vessel operators to and from Chittagong and the hubs of Colombo, Singapore and Port Klang have imposed $75 for each goods-laden container and $37.50 for each empty one as ECRS became effective from November 15.
On November 19, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), in separate letters to the Chattogram Port Authority, Bangladesh Shipping Agents' Association and Bangladesh Container Shipping Association, made the demand terming the charges 'illogical' and 'unaccepted'.
BGMEA first vice president Mohammed Abdus Salam, in the letter said, feeder vessel operators have imposed a cost recovery charges due to the congestions in ports of Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia.
Talking to the FE on Monday, Mr Salam said the unilateral imposition by some feeder vessel operators, especially operating out of Colombo, Singapore and Port Klang, was made at a moment when the industry is struggling to survive during the second wave of coronavirus.
He said such a rise would increase the price of imported raw materials while there is a possibility that buyers might reduce the rate of apparel items.
"As a result, we would lose our competitiveness in the global market," he said, demanding the required measures from the authorities concerned to stop the additional charge collection by the feeder vessel operators.
Transworld Feeders on November 04 informed its customers that it would charge $75 for each goods-laden container and $37.50 for each empty one from 16 November on the Chittagong-Colombo-Chittagong route.
A $70 per laden container and $35 per empty would be charged on the Chittagong-Singapore-Port Klang route from 20 November.
"We have been encountering unprecedented delays in Colombo in the recent past due to various issues at the terminals," Transworld said in the letter.
"These have resulted in severe delays to our vessels with port stays exceeding seven days in certain cases, resulting in the port call omissions and route changes at short notice," it added.
Another operator said that there have been reduced productivity and severe congestion resulting in increased port stays up to four to five days at the Colombo port, causing hardship to all operators.
This has forced the company to introduce such charged, it added.
According to industry insiders, about 44 per cent Bangladeshi goods are transshipped through Singapore, 37 per cent through Colombo, 12 per cent through Tanjung Pelepas and the remaining 7.0 per cent through Port Klang.