If the strike continues, it will create a container backlog and traders will face financial losses, fear officials concerned
The movement of cargo to and from Chittagong Port has been suspended since Friday morning after a nationwide transport strike came into effect over the recent hike in fuel prices.
No goods-laden trucks, covered vans, or prime movers entered or exited the port from 6am. Hundreds of vehicles visit the port daily for transporting goods, sources have said.
Although the loading and unloading of containers from the vessels anchored at the port jetties were going on as usual, the transportation of containers between the port and most of the private inland container depots (ICDs) remained suspended, according to Ruhul Amin Sikder, secretary of the Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (BICDA).
Officials concerned have expressed the fear that if the strike continues, it will create a container backlog and in turn a crisis of raw materials for industries.
Meanwhile, if the ships anchored at the jetties leave without the export goods then traders will lose the trust of foreign buyers, they have stated.
In both circumstances, traders stand to suffer a financial blow.
Mahbubul Alam, president of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “The strike has put a halt to commodities transportation across the country. This has a massive effect on the import-export market. In the national interest, the strike should be called off.”
On Wednesday, the government increased diesel and kerosene prices by Tk15 per litre — from Tk65 to Tk80 — in order to keep them in line with rising fuel prices in the global market.
The move has prompted the leaders of different cargo and public transport associations across Bangladesh to stop operating vehicles until new fares are announced or the price hikes are revised by the authorities.