As the fuel oil price in Bangladesh saw a record hike on 5 August, the inland container depots in Chittagong have moved to raise diesel-linked service charges by 42.5% to meet up the costs arising.
The Chittagong inland container depots provide at least five types of services which are dependent on the use of diesel.
The depot owners informed the shipping agents and freight forwarders that they want to raise the charges for services like empty container haulage/ transportation, empty container lift-on/lift-off, export goods and container handling, export container verified gross mass (VGM) and package charge.
According to some depot owners, with the proposed rate hike, the depot charges for an import container will increase by nearly US$48/TEU and US$55/FEU.
On the other hand, export stuffing package charge for a TEU will increase by US$25 and for an FEU by US$33.
Nurul Qayyum Khan, president of Bangladesh Inland Container Depot Association (BICDA), said depots have no other option but to raise the charges as the fuel oil prices skyrocketed.
“We will hike the charges only those services which have links with diesel use,” he told Container News.
He noted the depot owners have individually informed the development to their customers. BICDA members will sit together soon and also have a meeting with the Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association to discuss the issue.
The last time BICDA raised charges by 23% was when the government increased fuel oil prices in November 2021.
Syed Mohammad Arif, chairman of Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association (BSAA), said under the 2016 ICD policy there was a committee of the ministry of shipping which had to oversee any kind of charge hike in the shipping sector.
However, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) created another ICD policy in 2021, which did not keep the committee looking after the charge hike issues.
Arif said he has unofficially requested a BICDA vice president not to raise charges on overall cost rather to enhance charge on actual cost hike.
Bangladeshi apparel shippers say the depot charge hike will come as another big blow to their trade as transportation charge is also rising.
Shahidullah Azim, acting president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told Container News that BICDA last time increased charges on their will without discussion with the depot users.
“I will soon talk to the BICDA leadership on this issue,” he pointed out and added both the import and export costs will go up due to the charge hike lowering Bangladesh’s apparel sector’s competitiveness.
Source: Container News