The possibility of direct container shipments from Chittagong Port to European destinations is expanding as at least four other countries have expressed interest in shipping goods directly from Chattogram to Europe by sea.
After an Italian shipping company launched direct services between Chattogram and Italy earlier this month, Portugal, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Denmark have expressed a desire to follow suit.
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Meanwhile, a new container ship is expected to arrive at the port in the first weeks of March to carry goods exported to Italy.
Goods exported from the country have so far been transported to Europe, the United States and other destinations through four regional transshipment ports, including Colombo and Singapore, as well as Tanjung Pelepas and Port Klang in Malaysia and some ports in China, connecting with the larger parent company. carrier ships.
Since both the time and cost of transporting the country’s exports in this way are high, companies have long hoped for direct freight services.
But the low resistance in the Chittagong port, which makes it difficult to accommodate the large mother ships, remains the main obstacle to the realization of their hopes.
However, the Italian shipping agent, RifLine Worldwide Logistics Limited, with the help of Italian shipping company Kalypso Compagnia di Navigazione SPA, has already launched direct services on the Italy – Chattogram route by deploying two smaller container ships.
Liberian-flagged MV Songa Cheetah arrived here on February 5 from the Italian port of Ravenna and departed two days later, carrying 952 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containerized cargo for export.
Shah Jahan, Chairman of the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA), told the Daily Star that officials from the Portuguese and Slovenian embassies, through the Ministry of Shipping, separately sought virtual meetings with the CPA to launch direct shipping services to Chittagong Port. .
The Chair said he would discuss the matter in detail at the meeting.
Anne van Leeuwen, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bangladesh, paid a courtesy visit to the CPA chief on February 16, when the latter suggested the ambassador take the initiative to start direct shipping services between Chittagong Port and Rotterdam.
The Port of Rotterdam is the largest seaport in Europe and is linked to important destinations in the region.
Shah Jahan said the ambassador had a positive view of the proposal.
He also informed Shah Jahan that he made the same proposal to Danish Ambassador Winnie Estrup Peterson in a February 14 meeting. Peterson praised the recently introduced live scheduled service between Chattogram and Italy and confirmed their cooperation in this regard.
Meanwhile, MV AST Malta is now sailing on its way from China and is expected to arrive in Chattogram on March 2 to carry some export cargo to the Italian port of Ravenna.
The vessel is one of two vessels operated by RifLine Worldwide in its direct service between China and Ravenna.
Abul Kalam Azad, Director of RifLine Worldwide Logistics Limited Bangladesh, exclusive partner of Italy RifLine, said MV AST Malta was in fact on its way to Italy from China and was planning to refuel in Colombo.
“But since Sonja Chita was unable to ship approximately 31 twenty-foot equivalent containers (TEUs) on February 7, we planned to bring AST Malta here to refuel at Chittagong Port and ship the remaining containers he added.
A total of 97 additional TEUs of export loading containers are currently being held at various docks for shipment by Songa Cheetah, which will arrive in the third week of March.
Azad said they can also ship 97 TEUs through AST Malta.
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