© MD Kajol

Services at Chittagong were suspended for 54 hours until noon today, while operations in West Bengali ports were closed for more than 12 hours after Cyclone Remal pounded coasts. The suspensions have caused congestion and delays, which will take some time to iron out.

Meanwhile Colombo Port, a regional hub that handles boxes for both Bangladesh and India, also saw berthing delays late last week due to bad weather.

Remal has claimed 16 lives in Bangladesh and India, destroyed thousands of homes and affected the livelihoods of millions of people.

Omar Faruk, spokesperson for Chittagong Port Authority (CPA), said the port started sending back 19 containerships to deeper water from jetties and outer anchorages after the meteorological office issued a danger signal on Sunday morning.

All loading and unloading of containers was suspended and, while the danger signal was withdrawn yesterday, allowing boxes to be handled again, ships could only start coming to jetties today, due to the tides and low draughts.

Shipping sector stakeholders say the disruptions at the port created a backlog of both vessels and containers that will last for weeks, perhaps until Eid-ul-Azha on 17 June.

The port yards are now faced with a backlog of more than 39,000 teu of containers.

Handling at Mongla, Bangladesh’s second seaport, was also suspended for more than two days due to the cyclone, while in Kolkata, the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port suspended operations for over 12 hours.


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