Leaders of Chittagong Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industries on Sunday said that the country’s business community was hostage to protracted operational crisis at Chittagong port and urged for immediate steps to break the ongoing stalemate.
Addressing a press meet organised by CMCCI on its office premises prior to holding a month-long trade fair in Chittagong from December 1, they came down heavily on Chittagong Port Authority for its failure to tackle the lingering congestion.
‘We are now hostage. The business community and all users are at stake due to the lingering congestion at the port plagued by equipment crisis and operational problem,’ said CMCCI president Khalilur Rahman.
He informed that most of the vessels calling at the port loaded with import goods had to stay here for seven to 20 days for discharging
import cargo and loading of export items.
He urged for urgent steps to resolve the crisis for facilitating the trade and business activities through this premier port.
CMCCI vice-president Mahbub Chowdhury said that due to overstay the cargo vessels incurred huge demurrage besides hurting the national economy.
‘We voiced our concern time and again about the ongoing operational crisis that stemmed from lingering congestion. But the response was very poor,’ he alleged.
Another director of CMCCI Syed Ahsanul Alam complained about bureaucratic and political influence which hit Chittagong port forcing its users and stakeholders to suffer.
Chittagong Port Authority secretary Omar Faruk brushed aside the allegations and claimed that congestion almost eased.
‘The situation at Chittagong port now improved,’ he claimed.
About the trade fair, CMCCI vice-president Mahbub Chowdhury informed that around 200 stalls would be set up at the fair to be launched at Abahani Maidan at Halishahar of this port city on December 1.
He also informed that the trade fair would draw 10 stalls from some foreign countries.
Convener of this trade fair Anisuzzaman Bhuiyah informed that preparations were afoot to showcase products from home and abroad in the fair.
He said that a temporary police camp would be set up on the fair premises to ensure round-the-clock security for the visitors.
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