How Much Time It Takes To Release Goods From Customs In Bangladesh

How Much Time It Takes To Release Goods From Customs In Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, the process of releasing goods from customs can be quite time-consuming. For businesses operating in the country, it is important to have a clear understanding of the procedures and regulations involved, as well as a realistic estimate of the time required to clear customs. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the customs clearance process in Bangladesh, including the factors that affect the time it takes to release goods from customs. Whether you are importing goods for personal use or for your business, this guide will help you navigate the customs clearance process with ease and efficiency.

Customs Clearance Duration In Bangladesh 

The duration for custom clearance in Bangladesh is relatively higher compared to other countries, causing the nation to face losses in several ways. The situation is particularly problematic at the Chittagong Port where the clearance duration for food items is 11+ days, medicine 14+ days, RMG raw materials 9+ days, and capital equipment 12+ days. These extended clearance periods not only lead to delayed shipments but also result in additional costs for storage and transportation, affecting the competitiveness of Bangladesh in the global market.

At Dhaka Airport, the situation is slightly better but still requires improvement. The clearance duration for food items is 6+ days, medicine 8+ days, RMG raw materials 5+ days, and capital equipment 12+ days. While the clearance periods for food and RMG raw materials are relatively shorter, the extended clearance duration for medicine and capital equipment still causes significant delays and added costs.

For the last couple of years, Benapole Land Port has been serving as the primary land port of the country but the custom clearance facility here is not enough compared to the international land ports. Most international countries have a 24-hour average timeline of customs clearance. But, the clearance duration for food items in Bangladesh is 5+ days, medicine 9+ days, RMG raw materials 10+ days, and capital equipment 12+ days. While the clearance periods for food and medicine are relatively shorter, the extended clearance duration for RMG raw materials and capital equipment still impacts the efficiency and competitiveness of Bangladesh. However, lowering the duration of customs clearance in Bangladesh has the potential to increase the nation’s revenue by leaps.

ProductsDhaka AirportChattogramBenapole
Food6+ Days11+ Days5+ Days
Medicine8+ Days14+ Days9+ Days
RMG Raw Materials5+ Days9+ Days10+ Days
Capital Equipment12+ Days12+ Days12+ Days
Source: NBR

Custom Clearance Duration In Other Countries

The duration of customs clearance can vary depending on the country and specific circumstances such as the type of goods being imported, their value, and the completeness and accuracy of the required documentation. On average, customs clearance in developed countries like the United States and Australia takes 24 hours to several days. Again being the largest export import oriented country in the world, it takes not more than 10 to 14 days in China. Other countries around the world also finish their customs clearance operation in 5 to 7 business days. However, in developing countries, it may take longer due to less efficient systems and higher levels of corruption. It’s always best to check with the relevant authorities or a customs broker in the country you’re importing to for more specific information and advice.

Why Bangladesh Customs Take More Time Than Other Countries

There are several reasons why the customs clearance process in Bangladesh may take longer than in other countries. Some of the main factors that contribute to this include:


Bureaucracy in Bangladesh plays a major role in the time it takes to release goods from customs compared to other countries. The complex system of administration and regulations in Bangladesh can result in longer processing times and increased red tape. The customs clearance process involves multiple steps and departments, each of which can be subject to bureaucratic procedures and regulations. On the other hand, there are some issues on the importer’s end too. According to the NBR Chairman,  Although most importers want their products to be released in the shortest period possible, some importers just like to leave their products on as long as they can. This way, the storage space will be saved. That’s why they don’t submit a bill of entry on time. Some car importers deliberately leave cars at customs. Because it is easier to pay damages than its storage cost. This results in a slow and cumbersome process that can add to the time required to clear customs.

Limited Resources

Limited resources are another important reason behind the long duration of customs clearance in Bangladesh. Customs departments in Bangladesh are often under-resourced with insufficient staff to manage the large volume of cargo that comes into the country each year. This can result in increased wait times and delays in the clearance process. Moreover, the department also doesn’t have the necessary technology to process and clear goods as quickly as it should be. As a matter of fact, some departments still work using manual procedures. Furthermore, the customs department is often underfunded by the Bangladesh government, which might be a reason to hold them back from doing their job efficiently.

Insufficient Infrastructure

Bangladesh is a rapidly developing country, and its infrastructure is still catching up with the demands of its growing economy. This includes the customs infrastructure, which may be insufficient to handle the large volumes of goods being imported into the country. Chittagong port authority often handles more cargo than its capacity which sometimes creates complications. This port is responsible for handling the lion’s share of the trading operation in Bangladesh with only 40 lac TEU capacity. On the other hand, the country’s other major port – Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, has only a 2 lac TEU cargo handling capacity as there is no separate cargo village. Customs operations in this airport are currently prolonged due to a lack of modern equipment, adequate manpower, and a storage facility. Also, there are 23 land ports in Bangladesh, but only a few of them are actually being used. Among them, 70 percent of all trading operations of land ports are done through Benapole Port. As a result, the customs clearance operation also takes more time due to the increased workload.

Ending Thoughts

Despite these challenges, the customs clearance process in Bangladesh is gradually improving, and the government is working to streamline the process and reduce the time it takes to release goods from customs. However, it is still important for businesses to be aware of the potential challenges and plan accordingly to minimize the impact on their operations. 

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