The Chittagong Customs House (CCH) has started releasing export-import consignments round the clock on experimental basis as the country’s main seaport at Chittagong is set to launch 24-hour operation on August 1,Agencies report.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate this new timetable of the Chittagong port, which deals with 90 percent of the country’s external trade and Benapole land port through a video conference from her office in Dhaka on the day.
National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Md Nojibur Rahman visited the CCH and Chittagong port yesterday to see the progress of preparation of the CCH and the port.
The port authorities and CCH will hold meetings separately with all stakeholders to make a work plan for operating the port round the clock.
“The operation of Chittagong port and Benapole land port 24 hours a day and seven days a week from Aug 1 will certainly give a new boost to the country’s import-export,” said Md Nojibur Rahman.
He said the port users will get three benefits after the launching of the new timetable by Chittagong port. First, the port users will always be able to keep them connected with international market, secondly, pressure on the port and users will be reduced and thirdly, there will be a positive impact on the country’s traffic system as goods will be loaded and offloaded at night, he added.
The NBR chairman said Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) plays the main role in handling export-import consignments and the CCH coordinate these activities. Along with them, banks, BSTI, Atomic Energy Commission and other related government offices will have to take preparation to facilitate the operation of the ports round the clock, he said, adding that preparation is being taken in a coordinated way.
About increase of manpower at CCH, Nojibur Rahman said many of the newly recruited 600 assistant revenue officials will be deployed in these two ports.
He said the private Inland Container Depots in Chittagong are setting up scanning machines because their capacity must be increased to facilitate the operation of the port round the clock.
After visiting the port, the NBR chairman held a view-exchange meeting with officials concerned at the CCH. Shipping Secretary Ashok Madhab Roy, Chittagong Port Authority Chairman Rear Admiral M Khaled Iqbal and top officials of the NBR and CPA were present at the meeting.