European states to launch direct shipping services with Chittagong port
With the launch of a direct shipping service between Chittagong port and an Italian port, now three more European states have come forward with similar proposals.
Portugal, Slovenia and Denmark approached the Chittagong Port Authority to launch a direct shipping service, avoiding the severe congestions in regional transshipment ports, aiming to cut costs and save travel time.
The Chittagong Port Authority announced priority berthing for vessels to and from Europe and the jetties they select, while the authority chairman Rear Admiral M Shahjahan said already Portugal and Slovenia have expressed interest in starting a direct shipping service while Denmark’s envoy in Dhaka will meet soon on this issue.
“The launch of a direct service has created the opportunity to quickly send cargo to Europe. We will nurture any such efforts with the highest priority,” he highlighted.
On 7 February, RIF Line, a Rome-based forwarder, and its subsidiary Kalypso Compagnia Di Navigation SPA launched a service with the 2008-built Songa Cheetah left Chittagong with approximately 1,000 TEU in its maiden voyage to the Port of Civitavecchia in Italy.
The vessel will reach Italy in 16 days while the transit-based services take more than 23 days based on delays at transit ports in Colombo, Port Klang, and Singapore, while the transportation cost lessens by around 40% through the direct service.
Apparel exporter and chairman of Asian Group Abdus Salam said the new direct service will keep Bangladesh ahead compared to its close competitor in garment production Vietnam.
“We urge more countries to come forward with direct vessel service to facilitate trade,” he noted.