BICDA demands release of more imported goods thru off-docks

Jasim Uddin | Published: 22:47, Jan 22,2021


The Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association has demanded that measures should be taken to facilitate the release of more imported goods through private ICDs so that the sector can utilise its full handling capacity.

In a recent letter to the revenue board, the BICDA claimed that half of the capacity of 19 private ICDs, known as off-docks, to handle imported products has remained unutilised.

The revenue board should allow the release of more imported products through the off-docks, it said.

The association on December 31 placed the proposal along with some other demands, including cancellation of duel delivery system for 38 low-risk products from the off-docks and the Chattogram port and reduction of income tax rate for the sector.

Earlier on December 1, the Chattogram Port Authority also placed a proposal to the NBR to increase the number of items to be released through the private ICDs and to gradually bring all imported items under the scheme to reduce container congestion at the Chattogram port.

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, however, has opposed the proposal of releasing garment sector businesses’ imported goods through the offdocks claiming that the process would increase the time and cost of doing business.

Currently, only 38 types of low-risk products, including rice, wheat, waste paper, chickpea, pulse, raw cotton, scrap, maize, soya bean, marble chips, ball clay, onion, ginger, garlic, fertiliser, soda ash, dates, sugar, bitumen, marble stone and sodium sulphate are released through the off-docks after import through the Chattogram port.

On the other hand, export procedures of all products are completed at the off-docks.

BICDA president Nurul Qayyum Khan and first vice-president Jowher Rizvi in the letter said that the 19 private off-docks handled 22 per cent of imported goods and 100 per cent export goods.

In addition, they have to store empty containers for shipment of export products, and the capacity of the off-docks to store empty containers is 10 times higher than that of the Chattogram port.

The off-docks have successfully handled 88,000 twenty equivalent units of import containers in May and June of 2020 upon approval of the revenue board to reduce the severe container congestion at the port, they said.

Considering the handling capacity of the off-docks, the NBR should allow more imported products to be released through private arrangements, they demanded.

In the letter, the BICDA also said that 38 types of products which are permitted to be released through the off-docks were also released through the port which was having adverse impacts on the business and profits of the sector.

The NBR should revoke this duel delivery system for the products and issue the necessary instructions so that these products are released only through the off-docks, it said.

The association also demanded that the NBR should not make installation of container scanner mandatory for the private ICDs arguing that it is costly and will slow the activities at the offdocks, it said.

Scanning is necessary while goods are released through the port which already has five scanners and installation of another 12 scanners at 12 gates is under the process, it said.

The BICDA also demanded reduction of the corporate income tax rate to 10 per cent from the existing 35 per cent for the sector.

Officials of the revenue board said that they had received the letters from the relevant stakeholders.

The decision would be taken in this regard considering the concerns of all the stakeholders involved, they said.

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