Air freight cost rose by 4 times in 7 months, poor handling blamed
Exporters blamed poor handling of consignments at air cargo village in the airport at a time when freight costs is rising and demurrage cost of exports is becoming costlier every day.
According to the latest information the poor handling of cargo is mainly occurring as two explosives detection system (EDS) machines are out of order. It is causing failure in timely and properly scanning of cargoes and consequently flights are leaving airports in scheduled time without getting adequate cargo.
Nurul Amin, director, Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association (BAFFA) told the Daily Observer that currently cargoes are being scanned in normal process and there is dog squad in the cargo village to detect explosives.
He said with these two systems it is not possible to scan a large numbers of cargoes as a result goods planes fly with half capacity. In many cases it is just 30 to 40 per cent of the total capacity, he said.
As the cargo planes are not getting adequate cargoes, to make flights sustainable the flight operators are increasing freight costs, he said adding that it is rising every hour every day.
The BAFFA director said currently per kilogram cargo freight cost to the US is USD12 and in the European countries it is $6.5 whereas just two months back it was $8 for the US and $2.5 for the EU countries.
He said in the existing scanning system some cargoes face rescanning in the export destination thus adding to the freight cost.
Md Shahidul Islam a former first vice president of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said freight rates are rising unbelievably.
He said, "Seven months back per kilogram air freight was $2 for the USA. It is now $8 and the same in EU countries it increased from $1.5 per kg to $6.5 which is eating profits."
He said apart from poor cargo handling another cause of rising of freight costs is reduction of numbers of passenger flights to many countries due to ongoing pandemic.
He said as passenger flights also carry cargoes, reduction in the number of flights is adding pressure on cargo flights. As a result due to growing demand for their space they are also increasing costs.
Shehrin Salam Oishee, a director of the BGMEA said, "Due to mismatch in cargo handling we are counting demurrage every day."
She said EDS are located in the airport cargo village but they are not functioning as a result cargo planes leaving ports at under capacity.