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Thursday, March 10, 2016, Falgun 27, 1422 BS, Jamadiul Awwal 29, 1437 Hijri

UK slaps embargo on direct cargo flight from Dhaka
Exporters fear adverse impact
Published :Thursday, 10 March, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 31
Shamsul Huda
The British government has imposed restrictions on cargo flights from Dhaka to the UK until further order.
The embargo has been imposed as part of a set of interim measures as recent security assessments of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport found that some international security requirements were not being met, the UK government said in a notice on March 8.     
Meanwhile, exporters fear Bangladesh may face a complete embargo on cargo flights from different countries due to absence of compliant issues and poor economic diplomacy globally.
Besides, Airlines carrying cargo between Bangladesh and the UK on indirect routes are being directed to ensure it is re-screened before its final destination into the UK ,  according to British Department of Transport.   
According to a foreign air carrier's local officer, goods from Bangladesh are scanned in poor condition and there are facts of frequent weight pilferage with government staff assistance.
The foreign flagship company's local agent said Australia has already stopped taking goods from Bangladesh by air and it has caused a huge loss to the readymade garment exporters.
He said British Airways has stopped its direct cargo flights and now they are in offline operation.
He also said the European Union (EU) is assessing the overall security measures and compliance issues at  Bangladesh's airports.
A senior officer at GTS Logistics said, "Bangladesh is yet to maintain all the compliant issues at the airports' cargo villages.
He feared embargos from international carriers are likely to be imposed on cargo flights from Bangladesh.
A senior officer in another foreign flagship logistics company requesting anonymity said at least 10 cargo carriers are likely to stop their online operation in Bangladesh.
He said Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Air Asia, Turkish Airlines, Oman Airlines, Saudi Airlines and Ittehad, among the carriers, may stop their online operations, leading to a disaster in air exports of Bangladeshi goods, particularly readymade garments.
A US flagship company's local Chief Executive Officer said Bangladesh is in a vulnerable stage of facing closure of international cargo flights due to absence of compliance issues set by the global flight operation community.
He said the Biman authority is yet to install a Gantry Crane which scans goods in a container or in a pallet instead of cartoon.
In all the international airports cargoes are scanned under gantry crane but here in Bangladesh it is being done cartoon-wise.
He also detected weight pilferage, which is persistently done with connivance with Biman staff members.
He also pointed to the fact that Bangladesh has no direct air links with some Western countries, for which he blamed poor economic diplomacy.
He fears if the government fails to strengthen its diplomatic ties with the world's aviation authority, Bangladesh may face further disaster in air communication.
British Airways' local representative said, "We do not have direct operation from Bangladesh, so no carrier   lands here."
He said, "We hire other companies' carriers and scan our cargoes here at Dhaka airport with our own scan machine and again we scan them in the Middle East countries' airports."
Former BGMEA president Atiqul Islam said, "We are aware of the matter and we have talked with Bangladesh aviation authority to solve the problem globally."
He said currently many cargo flights deny sample shipments and even they charge higher.
He said it is the state's responsibility to meet such problems and facilitate smooth air transportation for the exporters.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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