Direct shipping now to the Netherlands

The container ship Spica J will leave Chattogram for the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands this week, introducing a new direct freight route between Bangladesh and the northwestern European country.

It will be Chattogram’s fourth drop-shipping service since February this year, with the businessmen saying drop-shipping will open up new horizons for foreign trade amid a global supply chain shock.

Reliance Shipping and Logistics, the local shipping agent for the last freight route, said three vessels will carry cargo. After reaching the Netherlands from Chattogram, the ships will sail to Barcelona, ​​Spain.

“Spica J is now at anchorage outside Chattogram Port. She will leave Bangladesh on May 31 or June 1 with 500 TEU [twenty-foot equivalent units] to export goods,” Mohammad Rashed, chairman of the shipping agent, told The Business Standard.

Currently, Chattogram container ships visit transshipment ports such as Tanjung Pelepas or Klang in Malaysia, Singapore, Colombo or China before heading to European countries. Export shipments arrive at their destination via base ports such as Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg in Europe. The whole journey takes about 40 days, while the freight cost for each container hovers around $12,000.

But direct shipping to the Netherlands will reduce the time to 20 days, while the freight cost will also be reduced by 20-30%.

Syed Mohammad Arif, president of Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association, said direct shipping with Europe is very positive for the country’s economy. “Increased cargo traffic will spur competition among shipping lines, which will lead to lower shipping costs. Businessmen have already started reaping the benefits of direct shipping on three routes.”

On February 7 of this year, the first direct shipment from the port of Chattogram began, introducing the Chattogram-Italy route. The service was launched by Italian freight forwarder RifLine. So far, the company has imported and exported goods six times by four ships, each trip taking 18 to 20 days.

Abul Kalam Azad, director of RifLine, said the container ship Cape Flores will reach the port of Chattogram on June 8. On her next voyage, the ship will carry goods to Turkey as well as to Italy.

On May 20, London freight forwarder Allseas Global Logistics launched the Chattogram-Rotterdam-Liverpool route. With this service, ships carrying Chattogram export cargo will first travel to the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands via the Suez Canal. After unloading, the ships will go to the port of Liverpool in the United Kingdom. Ships on the route will also carry imported goods to Chattogram.

Captain Syed Sohel Hasnat, managing director of Phoenix Shipping Limited, a local representative of Allseas Global Logistics, said the direct freight service can deliver goods to the UK within 23 days. It takes around 35-40 days to reach the UK via the transshipment ports of Singapore or Colombo.

On May 24, the Chattogram-China-Hong Kong direct containerized cargo route was established by the Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Company. Four ships operate on the route, with two more ships soon to join the fleet.

Rear Admiral M Shahjahan, Chairman of Chattogram Port Authority, said several other countries had also expressed interest in signing direct shipping contracts. These include Portugal, Slovenia and some countries in the Middle East. Direct container shipping on all three routes will begin soon.

Rakibul Alam Chowdhury, vice president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said direct freights with European countries have created huge potential for foreign trade. “This is a great achievement for Bangladesh, and the authorities must ensure that this service is not interrupted.”

Chattogram Port accounts for 92% of Bangladesh’s foreign trade. It also handles 98% of the country’s container shipments.

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