Bangladesh-China direct shipping link from Sept 9 - 09-03-2011, 10:08 PM
New line to cut freight, boost exports
Jasim Uddin Haroon
A Singapore-based carrier will launch a direct shipping link between Bangladesh and China this month, opening up a new vista for trade between the two economies.
The link will cut freight for Bangladeshi traders who import US$7 billion merchandise from the world's second largest economy and help boost export opportunities for local manufacturers seeking new avenues for shipment, experts said.
Pacific International Lines (PIL) starts the "landmark' shipping link on September 9, when its vessel, Kota Wista, will make the first voyage for Chittagong from Chinese commercial capital of Shanghai.
"We're introducing the new route to serve the country's businesses efficiently," said Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, country director of PIL.
"This will save a week for local traders who import most of the country's electronics from China and garment makers who source yarn and fabrics. It will ensure hassle-free cargo movement," he said.
The carrier plans to connect Chittagong with two other southern Chinese ports, Ningbo of Zhejiang province and Nansha of Guangdong -- the global textile, electronics and footwear hub.
Initially, the shipping company will operate two round trips on the route but it plans to launch weekly voyages in a couple of months, its executives said.
"Vessel from China will arrive Chittagong
port each Sunday and leave for China each Wednesday." Mr Rafique said.
Presently, Bangladesh can't ship directly to China or any of its major trade partners such as the European Union nations and the United States.
Vessels carrying goods destined for Bangladesh first disembark in Singapore, Port Klang of Malaysia and Colombo before heading to Chittagong or Mongla.
Similarly, cargoes loaded with Bangladeshi exports have to be reloaded in main line vessels in the three major ports before being shipped to EU, the US and other top markets.
Shipping executives said this process is cumbersome and adds extra-cost to Bangladeshi merchandise. The shipment is delayed for weeks when feeder vessels are in short supply in the three transshipment ports.
In many cases, goods and foodgrains remained stockpiled at the ports for weeks, fuelling inflation at home and spiking freight costs for export cargoes.
Traders and manufacturers now need at least 22-25 days to import goods from China. The direct shipping linkage will cut at least six-seven days and the round trip will take 35 days.
The main line operator will arrive Chittagong via Singapore. It will reach China via Singapore and Thailand as empty containers and Europe-America bound will be unloaded there.
Mr Rafique said the direct link will save at least $120 in freight cost per container for Bangladeshi traders. "There will be no hassles or delays in Singapore or at Port Klang," he said.
China has recent years emerged as the country largest import partner. It accounted for some 21 per cent of the Bangladesh's $33 billion import trade in the year to June 2011.
Bangladesh's major imports from China include electronics, fabrics, non-cotton yarn and accessories, machinery, chemicals, intermediary raw-material, fertilizers, food grains and fruits.
With its economy booming at the breckneck speed, the world's most populous country has also grown to Asia's top shopper. Last year it bought $400 million worth of merchandise from Bangladesh.
China last year overtook India as the biggest buyer of Bangladeshi raw jute and jute yarn. China also imports leather, dehydrated sea fish and apparel from Bangladesh.
09-03-2011, 10:12 PM
1. Economic growth in the 2000s was around 5% now it is just under 7%, but with wider access to the increasingly bigger billion + Chinese market this should just increase.
2. In a decade or two the Sonadia mega port should become operational and this will have a capacity of around 100 million tonnes whereas Chittagong, Bangladesh's main port, now just has 1 million MT.
3. Land connectivity via Myanmar is on the agenda too.
The Chinese market will be bigger than the western European and US market combined.
|bangladeshchina, direct, link, sept, shipping|