The Financial Express

Private inland container depots run at half of capacity

| Updated: January 23, 2021 12:18:21

Private inland container depots run at half of capacity

Around 50 per cent capacity of the country's 19 private inland container depots has remained unutilised as the government allows them to handle a limited number of imported products, industry insiders said.

Currently, the private ICDs, known as off-docks, handle 22 per cent of imported goods while the Chattogram port does 100 per cent exported items.

Private operators identified the duel-delivery system of some 38 imported products both from the port and private ICDs as one of the reasons for unutilised capacity.

The Bangladesh Inland Container Depot Association (BICDA) placed a six-point proposal to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in this connection.

Private ICDs were established at an investment of Tk 80 billion investment and generated employment to 35,000 people, according to BICDA.

Talking to the FE, BICDA president Nurul Qayyum Khan said the government could have allowed off-docks to handle the import products, which are less-susceptible to tax evasion.

He said the off-docks are not allowed to deliver imported apparels as the customs allowed only the Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) to do the job.

It is an international norm not to deliver the product inside the port, he added.

Earlier, the CPA had also proposed the NBR to allow private ICDs to deliver all import products for the sake of efficient port operations.

The duel-delivery system should be scrapped allowing off-docks to handle the permissible products only from the ICDs, the BICDA said in a letter to the NBR.

The association leaders alleged the unusual delay in the renewal of licences of private ICDs and requested the authorities not to make scanner installation mandatory for the off-docks.

They said the delivery of products would be delayed if the installation of scanners is made mandatory for ICDs.

"The private ICDs are unable to bear the expenses of scanner installation," the BCID said in the letter.

They also sought the reduction of income tax for the ICDs to 10 per cent as it is required for the export-oriented sector.

The private ICD operators said they are supposed to get the money of auctioned products as per the Customs Act 1969, section 201.

Currently, the customs authority has been putting the stored products of ICDs on auction, but auctioned money has yet to be allocated to the dry ports.

Earlier, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) expressed reservations about taking the delivery of import products from private ICDs.

BGMEA president Dr Rubana Huq, in a letter to the NBR, alleged private operators have poor infrastructure, machinery, charge high and make unusual delays in delivering import products.

The BGMEA sent the letter following a proposal of the CPA to the NBR for allowing off-docks to handle all import products.

ICD operators said they kept the port vibrant during the lockdown when the NBR allowed them to handle all types of goods to ease congestions at the Chattogram port.

It handled some 88,000 units of import products during the May-June last year.

They said the private off-docks have to store empty containers for the exporters and volume of those containers is 10 times as much the CPA's.

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