Bangladesh Port Woes Cause Shippers Headaches

Monday, January 17, 2000
Strikes, and poor management and infrastructure at Bangladesh's Chittagong port are costing shippers thousands of dollars and hampering the country's external trade. Chittagong, which handles 80 percent of the struggling country's external trade, is facing major problems, a top shipping executive said. Bad management, poor infrastructure, and shortage of handling equipment are the major operational problems facing the port, the officials said. Also, frequent political and labor strikes have impeded the functionality of the port. He said the stay-time for vessels had ballooned because of the strikes, which regularly bring the country to a standstill. The port's 16 berths handled 1,469 ships in calendar 1999, up from 1,352 the previous year. The government last year deployed troops on several occasions, as well as temporary 24-hour operations and night navigation to help, but it is not known if they will use similar measures this year.

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