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Private ICDs hike tariff by 12pc

Published : Wednesday, 18 September, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 872
Nurul Amin

CHATTOGRAM, Sept 17: The owners of the 18 private inland container depots (ICDs) on Tuesday increased their charges for handling consignments by 12 per cent, in a development that will raise the cost for importers and exporters.
Talking to the Daily Observer, Nurul Qayyum Khan, President of the Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA), said that the decision had been implemented since Tuesday morning.
The private ICDs, also known as off-docks, located in and around the port city, wanted to increase tariff at 24 per cent higher on Monday but the stakeholders complained it to the Ministry of Shipping.  As a consequence, the Secretary of the Ministry and the Chairman of the Chattogram Port Authority requested the off-dock owners to increase the rate at 12 per cent. The rest 12 per cent will be decided after a meeting of the tariff committee later on.
Accordingly, the BICDA members have agreed to increase at 12 per cent higher since Tuesday.
BICDA President claimed that the Private ICDs have been handling the export goods including the cent per cent Readymade Garments sector     of 34 billion dollars annually.
He said that BICDA enhanced the tariff after nine years to meet their other expenses.
He said that the last increase in tariff around three years ago was not enough and the latest committee has done next to nothing to revise the rates since.
The BICDA had increased the tariff in the 12 types of service charges for landing, stuffing, labour, documentation and lifting, among others.
According to the revised charges, for a 20 feet export container package (stuffing), costs increased by 25 percent from Tk 3,600 to Tk 4,500; per ton landing charges rose by 25 percent from Tk 180 to Tk 225 and per carton labour charges increased by 50 percent from Taka 3 to Taka 4.50.
For a 20-feet export container the ICDs' service charges have now gone up by Tk 2,000 on average.
Almost 90 percent of export goods are stuffed into containers at the 19 private ICDs before shipment through the Chattogram port.  Another 21 percent of the import containers are sent from the port to the ICDs, from where the goods are delivered.
BICDA on February 28 issued a circular increasing 12 types of tariffs
by 20 to 25 percent on average.
In its February 28 circular, the BICDA said a committee of the Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) in a 2016 report said that the ICDs' operational and other related costs had increased by 42 percent between 2011 and 2015, and so the charges should have been raised accordingly.
Nurul Qayyum Khan said upon insistence from the stakeholders and requests by the CPA, they had agreed to an increase of 20 percent only in 2016 last.
The then CPA chairman had also assured us that the charges would be increased by another 20 percent after a year, but BICDA Chief alleged that almost three years had passed since the deadline for the second review of the tariffs.
The depots had earlier announced the new charges would be effective from April 1, but postponed the decision following requests from the shipping ministry and the CPA. Insiders claim the request for postponement came from exporters, importers and freight forwarders, among others.
The shipping ministry on April 1 this year formed an 11-member tariff committee headed by Shipping Ministry Joint Secretary Abdus Sattar Sheikh and held a meeting on the same day.
The BICDA president said it was the first meeting which came three years after the ICD Policy was formulated in June 2016.  The tariff committee held three meetings and formed another 13-member committee.  In several meetings of these committees, our voice was suppressed since we are the only service provider member, whereas the majority members are service takers, , adding Khan said that the issue of fixing ICD tariffs was delayed as the service takers always opposed any raise in the charges.
The 18 ICDs handled around 6.15 lakh TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of export containers, 2.86 lakh TEUs import containers and 5.87 lakh TEUs empty containers in 2018-2019 fiscal year.

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