A truck driver strike at Chittagong Port has forced the suspension of container transport between Chittagong and 19 inland container depots (ICDs), stranding at least a hundred export-laden containers.
Two vessels left the port yesterday without taking any of the stranded containers, which could not be sent to the port due to the stalemate. “Not a single container could be transported between the port and the 19 ICDs since Wednesday morning”, said Md Ruhul Amin Sikder, Secretary of the Bangladesh Inland Container Deport Association. In India, all exported goods are cleared for customs at ICDs before they can be delivered to the port for shipment.
While exports have been severely hampered, there have been no reported issues with the delivery of imported goods, which are sent directly from the port to consignees.
The strike began on February 26 after ICD owners failed to issue salary enhancement appointment letters, which were promised to the drivers during salary negotiations in January. ICD owners sat with the striking workers on February 23, but no action was taken as the owners sought more time to meet the workers’ demand.
Port users fear more disruption if the stalemate prolongs.
- The Daily Star, Container transport from Ctg port grinds to a halt