Textile makers fear raw material shortage
The country's textile makers on Thursday expressed fears that the sector might face a crisis of raw materials shortage, mainly cotton, in February and March as shipping lines were unwilling to carry containers headed to Bangladesh due to a shortage of feeder vessels to unload goods in time.
Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) leaders at a press briefing at the office of the trade body in the capital said though the letter of credits had already been opened for importing cotton needed for February-March period importers would not get the consignments in time due to reluctance of shipping lines to enter Bangladeshi channel.
Textile millers said that if they failed to get cotton in time, production in many of the spinning mills would stop and prices of yarns would increase in local market.
Along with shortage of feeder vessels, inefficiency at port are also discouraging shipping lines to carry Bangladesh-bound cargoes as loading and unloading take more time causing additional anchoring charges for mother vessels, BTMA president Mohammad Ali Khokon said.
He hinted that Bangladesh apparel and textile sector might face an acute shortage of raw materials to meet the global orders for summer in February and March as import of cotton take 5-6 months after opening LCs because shipping lines unloaded Bangladesh bound containers in ports in China and elsewhere.
Khokon said Bangladesh has to pay additional 4 to 5 cents for a pound of cotton due to the higher freight cost as container clearance in the country takes more than one week time due to complex customs procedures compared to other countries taking a maximum of four to five days.
The BTMA president said more than 100 members of the trade body have informed him verbally that shipping lines were unwilling to carry Bangladesh bound cargo due to the shortage of feeder vessels, containers and congestion at port.
Due to the trade war between the US and China, many of the containers remained stacked in the ports of the two countries, he said.
Khokon also demanded duty-free import of all types of fibres to ensure product diversification as different types of fibres with cotton are being used in the primary textile sector to produce yarns as per the demand of global buyers.
"Ease of doing business' and 'cost of doing business' situation is still big impediments for the country's textile and apparel sector. The government should take initiative to remove complexities in the tax system and shortage of feeder vessels to help grow the business,' he said. Khokon demanded policy support from the government for a strong backward linkage industry saying that the future success of forward linkage industry depended on backward linkage industry.
BTMA senior vice-president Md Fazlul Hoque and director Md Saleuz Zaman Khan, among others, were present in the briefing.