The country’s foreign trade through the Chattogram seaport increased significantly in March after a plunge in growth in the previous month as the country’s businesses tried to complete their exports and imports before the coronavirus outbreak set in.
Export and import of bulk and containerised cargoes increased by 9.21 per cent in the month after witnessing a 13.74-per cent negative growth in February over the previous month, according to the Chittagong Port Authority data.
The CPA experienced the growth in bulk and containerised cargo handling mainly due to the import of increased volume of essential products ahead of Ramadan and increased shipment of export items after delay in shipment in February, officials and exporters said.
The CPA handled a total of 1.03 crore tonnes of export and import products in March against around 94 lakh tonnes of products in February.
Both export and import cargoes increased by 19 per cent and 8.59 per cent in March.
In February, export of bulk and containerised cargoes fell by 14.58 per cent while import declined by 13.69 per cent over January, the CPA data showed.
According to the data, 96 lakh tonnes of bulk and containerised products were imported through the country’s premier seaport in March, which was 88.42 lakh tonnes in February.
On the other hand, export of bulk and containerised cargoes was 6.63 lakh tonnes in March against 5.57 lakh tonnes in February.
Export and import of cargoes of Kamalapur Inland Container Depot and Pangaon Inland Container Terminal are also brought through the Chattogram seaport.
Handling of containers in TUEs (twenty equivalent units) also increased by 3.19 per cent to 2,49,669 in March from 2,41,940 in February.
A total of 366 vessel arrived in the Chattogram seaport in the month against 364 in February.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association port and shipping affairs standing committee chairman Nasir Uddin Chowdhury on Wednesday told New Age that the reason for the growth of exports in quantity in March might be an increased shipment of products as many exporters could not make shipments in February.
Many buyers might also take their products early, fearing further deterioration in coronavirus situation in the country, he said.
But the average growth in exports, particularly that of readymade garment items, would be hugely negative in the recent months as many global buyers have cancelled or suspending export orders, he said.
The export situation may worsen in April, he said.
CPA secretary Omar Faruk said that the data indicated that export and import of the country increased in the month.
Though the CPA does not have any analysis over the reason of such increase after a drastic fall in February, he said that the import of essential consumer goods might increase in March as Ramadan, the fasting month for the Muslims, is approaching.
Bangladesh’s foreign trade witnessed a sharp decline in February due to the suspension and delay in shipment from China due to the coronavirus outbreak in China.
Bangladesh imports most of its raw materials for RMG industry and other sectors from China.
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