In a recent study, it takes almost 11 days and 6 hours for the cargo to be released at Chattogram Seaport, where 90% of Bangladesh’s entire world trade in products is handled by this port releasing, air cargo in Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport takes around seven days, 11 hours, and 19 minutes; and at the country’s largest land port, Benapole, the release of land cargo takes around 10 days, eight hours, and 11 minutes. Importers and their representatives absorb 75% of the time in this issue, with 14% being taken by the port authority while 8% is spent on customs-related activities.
The study was accompanied by a Time Release Study (TRS) with the help of a group of World Customs Organization (WCO)-trained customs officials of the National Board of Revenue (NBR). The TRS method is an indication for identifying bottlenecks and improving performance in the export or import process.
This TRS project was capitalized by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of the Government of Switzerland through the WCO-SECO Global Trade Facilitation Program (GTFP).
The report was revealed at the Westin Hotel, in an event called “Comprehensive Time Release Study.” The event was chaired by Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem, senior secretary of the internal resources division (IRD) and chairman of the NBR, and a pre-recorded speech by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal was broadcast at the event.
Acknowledgment of the report and the NBR chairman’s recommendations the report would help to bring positive changes to trade facilitation in Bangladesh. Also, Abdul Mannan Shikder, NBR member, customs audit, modernization, and international trade wing, anticipated that the study findings would help to reduce the release time of imported products.
The recommendation that TRS made was to enhance the integration of its systems with ASYCUDA.
For the Chattogram seaport, the report suggested coordinating port activities with customs and other government agencies, getting rid of unnecessary procedures in customs and port processes, and taking care of the equipment requirements for non-intrusive inspection (NII)
For the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport the report suggested that the ongoing 3rd terminal will have the capacity to handle 2,73,470 tons of cargo every year, and with a 27 thousand square meters of space, the airport will have a increased airfreight cargo handling procedure.
Experts hoped that a successful implementation of the study recommendations would help reduce the existing release time and function at the forefront of trade facilitation.