Chittagong Port Credit Chittagong Port.
Photo: Chittagong Port.

Chittagong is facing a “huge” backlog of outbound containers ahead of the week-long Eid-related closure of factories.

Today’s Eid-ul-Azha, the second biggest Muslim festival, has seen long queues of trucks waiting at the 19 inland container depots in Chittagong.

Depot workers and drivers began the religious holiday in the early hours.

Ruhul Amin Sikder, secretary general of the Bangladesh Inland Container Depot Association, said around  1,000 trucks, laden with outbound cargo, were waiting in depots to unload, containing about 14,000 teu of exports – more than double the usual circa-6,000 teu in the depots.

“The backlog has been created because exporters rushed to the depots with boxes ahead of their factory closures,” he said, adding that depots have been receiving 33% more trucks each day in advance of Eid.

“But the number of ships were the same during the period, thus the backlog,” he said, “I am hopeful that the congestion will go soon after the business reopens.”

There are nearly 50,00 empty containers in the depots, according to depot owners.

Chittagong often faces congestion. However, last week the government appointed IFC as a transaction advisor to study, design and negotiate with foreign companies on building a new container terminal.

It is planned to be 450 metres in length, with a berth depth of 10.5 metres. APM Terminals has proposed a $400m investment.

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