Direct shipping service from Ctg to Barcelona, Rotterdam soon

Bangladesh Export earnings rise in July

A ship is seen at the Chattogram port. Photo: Rajib Raihan/FILE

Another direct container shipping service between Chattogram and two European ports is going to be introduced next month.

Switzerland-based maritime logistics service provider Commodity Supplies AG has taken the new initiative to launch the service with three of its chartered vessels to operate from Barcelona in Spain to Chattogram to the largest European port of Rotterdam in Netherlands.

Reliance Shipping and Logistics Limited, Bangladeshi agent of the firm, applied to the chairman of the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) on Sunday to grant direct liner permission for the three container ships named as MV Spica, MV Andromeda J and MV Music.

Earlier in February, an Italian shipping company launched direct service between Chattogram and Italy, opening the door to transport the country’s export cargo directly to any EU destination avoiding transhipment ports.

Reliance Shipping Chairman Mohammed Rashed hoped that they would get the CPA’s permission soon as the CPA chairman has already reacted positively to their appeal.

Once the permission is granted, they have plans to launch the service in the third week of May when one of the three ships will start from Barcelona for Chattogram, he said.

The country has long been suffering from lack of direct shipping service to Europe, its biggest export destination, mainly due to limited access to large ships at Chattogram port.

Currently, export containers are at first transported through small-sized feeder vessels to four transhipment ports, including Colombo, Singapore as well as Tanjung Pelepas and Port Klang of Malaysia and some ports in China.

The containers are then loaded to connecting bigger mother vessels to Europe, USA and African destinations.

At present, the transhipment ports particularly Colombo are facing prolonged vessel congestion and thus it takes around 40 days for the country’s export cargoes to reach EU destinations.

Rashed said once the new service is launched export cargoes could be sent to Barcelona within 20 to 22 days.

Contacted CPA Chairman Rear Admiral M Shahjahan told The Daily Star that they always welcome any direct shipping service to EU destinations and would give priority to the services.

He said he already gave nod to this latest appeal and the permission is now under official procedure.

CPA Chairman M Shahjahan also informed that within the next few months there would be more ships to call directly from Chattogram to Europe and other destinations as many countries have already expressed their interest in this regard.

Sources said Leixoes Port of Portugal is in a process of signing a memorandum of understanding with the CPA for direct service from Chattogram while Slovakia sent their expression of interest for direct shipping.

Confirming it, the CPA chairman said the UAE has also shown interest to inaugurate direct calling from Chattogram.

He hoped that all those would reduce export lead time and would increase the country’s export orders.

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