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Colombo Port crisis knocks on Bangladesh's shipping industry


Dec 31, 2010

Colombo Port crisis knocks on Bangladesh's shipping industry​

JASIM UDDIN HAROON | Published: March 28, 2022 09:06:24

Colombo Port crisis knocks on Bangladesh's shipping industry

Bangladesh's shipping industry begins suffering under a knock-on impact of a crisis at Colombo Port where truck-loading-service disruptions are now a common phenomenon, according to operators of the trade-haulage sector.

They say vessels, on average, are now facing two to three days' delay.

Usually, a voyage on the Chittagong-Colombo-Chittagong route takes eight days but now the time has increased to 10-11 days.

This happens to be one of the busiest routes for Bangladesh's shipment as the vessels plying this route could save around four days to reach Europe than taking a detour via Singapore port.

Sri Lanka is now hit hard by large-scale fuel stockouts. This is putting pressure on container lines as loading and unloading depends on the lorries.

Colombo is the key transshipment hub for South Asia.

A local top shipping executive told the FE that Colombo terminals are seeing serious container buildups due to shortage of trucks.

"Our vessels are now being delayed at least three days there," says Captain AS Chowdhury, the country head of Sea-consortium, one of the biggest feeder-service providers on the route.

And three days' time lag means they cannot connect with the mother vessels.

A media report quoting local industry sources says container transport-service providers have substantially scaled down truck deployments, disrupting Colombo's inter-terminal transfers critical to transshipment loads.

It also says: "The truck shortage is already leading to containers missing scheduled vessel connections."

Another shipping executive, working at the MSC, a global shipping giant, told the FE that they have been facing both congestion and berthing delays.

"We've faced some sort of problem in the Colombo Port, including berthing delay and congestion," he says, wishing anonymity.

The Sri Lankan economy has been under constant stress ever since the onset of the pandemic, as it crippled tourism, one of the highest dollar-earning sectors of the island.

However, the shipping executives are now opting for alternative routes through India or Oman to tide over the crisis.

Around 40 per cent of container movements to and from Bangladesh are relaying over Colombo port.



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