Now direct shipping to Spain and the Netherlands from May 20

Exporters in the country will benefit from direct shipping to two other European destinations – Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Barcelona in Spain – as three ships begin operating from the port of Chattogram on May 20.

Reliance Shipping and Logistics ships – MV Spica, MV Andromeda J and MV Music – will depart Chattogram fortnightly with export cargo.

The Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) and exporters say this is good news for the country’s exports. The sooner there are direct shipments to the United States and other European countries, the better for the country’s economy.

According to CPA, direct shipping to Portugal, Slovenia and the Middle East will also be launched soon.

The countries of the European Union use each other’s territories and ports and it is possible to transport goods from one country to another by road. Thus, any cargo shipped to a European country from the port of Chattogram can be delivered to other European destinations by road.

On February 7, the MV Songa Cheetah with 951 TEU (twenty foot equivalent) containers set sail for the Italian port of Ravenna. The Italian shipping company Kalypso Compagnia di Navigazione SPA Italy transports Bangladeshi exports by two container ships: the Songa Cheetah and the Cape Flores – both operated by Reliance Shipping.

Reliance Shipping chairman Mohammad Rashed said the ships would reach their destination in 20 days from Chattogram.

Currently, Chattogram’s European container ships pass through Singapore, Colombo, Tanjung Pelepas and some transshipment ports in China before reaching major European ports such as Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg.

Thus, it takes about 40 days for the goods to arrive in Europe via different transshipment ports. When the three ships start operating to the Netherlands and Spain, the delivery time will be reduced to 20 days. The maritime sector is expected to reduce the cost of transporting goods by around 30-40%.

According to Marine Traffic, the German-flagged vessel, MV Spica, has a container capacity of 749 TEUs, the Cypriot-flagged MV Andromeda J can handle 850 TEUs, and the container capacity of the Portuguese flag carrier, MV Music, is 803. TEUs.

CPA Secretary Omar Farooq said on Sunday that the president of the port authority had approved a vessel to operate on European routes. The vessel will operate directly from the Port of Chattogram to the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands and the Port of Barcelona in Spain.

Rear Admiral Mohammad Shahjahan, Chairman of CPA, in an exchange of views with journalists on the occasion of the 135th anniversary of the founding of the port, also spoke about direct shipping to Europe and other countries.

Mr Shahjahan said several countries have expressed interest in signing Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) for direct shipment to Europe. These include Portugal, Slovenia and various countries in the Middle East. He said direct container shipping to these destinations will begin soon and applications from organizations interested in starting drop shipping services are being considered on a priority basis.

He said that the APC will provide all its cooperation for the direct transport of goods to Europe, which will benefit exporters and brighten up the image of the country. Freight will be able to reach overseas buyers in less time if direct transportation increases, which will greatly reduce freight costs and also save time in the delivery of goods. This will help Bangladeshi products to do good business in the global market.

According to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Shipping Agents Association, about 82% of Bangladesh’s total exports are garments. In particular, 51% of Bangladesh’s exports are destined for Europe.

BGMEA Vice President Rakibul Alam Chowdhury said the new shipment with European countries has created great potential for the country’s exports. This is a great achievement for Bangladesh and we must ensure that this service is not interrupted.