Bangladesh suspends unloading of imported clinker

Bangladesh suspends unloading of imported clinker
22 October 2020

The unloading of imported clinker and other commodities in Chittagong and Mongla ports in Bangladesh remains suspended due to an indefinite strike called by Water Transport Workers for the last two days.

As a result, offloading from 20 foreign vessels laden with 0.91Mt of clinker, one vessel with 55,000t of gypsum and four ships with 224,598t of limestone at Chittagong Port is being delayed. At Mongla Port two ships were laden with clinker, one each with slag and coal cargoes are waiting for their turn to offload. Experts fear the delays may impact on the supply chain of the country's cement industry.

In addition 874 lighter vessels loaded with around 1.2Mt of goods, including cement and clinker, coal, stone, steel scrap, iron rods, wheat, lentil, salt, raw sugar, soybeans, coal, are stranded at 38 different private docks in various areas like Chattogram, Narayanganj, Noapara, Nagarbari, Baghabari, Khulna, Barishal and Patuakhali. 

According to Chittagong Port, the strike called by Water Transport Workers of Bangladesh to press for their various demands to lighters owners, effective from the evening of 20 October.

A leading shipping agent in Bangladesh, KSM Shipping Lines, reported that almost the entire shipping industry has collapsed and the whole country is badly affected. About 2.5Mt cargo remains on vessels and lighters. As a result, relevant ministries are trying to resolve the strike urgently.

Meanwhile, tripartite meetings have been held between the Water Transport Workers' associations, Lighters Owners' associations and government but they have not yielded any positive result. However, port users are hopeful that the matter will be resolved in the next 2-3 days. 

If the strike continues, the stay time of cargo vessels at the outer anchorage will increase, said AKM Shamsuzzaman Rassel, chairperson of the Bangladesh Ship Handling and Berth Operators Association. This means importers would have to count demurrages for such idle stay of vessels, he told media.

Published under Cement News