Cyclone disrupts sea and airport operations in Bangladesh, Myanmar

Source: The Loadstar 
Date: 16th May 2023

Super-cyclone Mocha, which pounded Bangladesh and Myanmar’s coasts yesterday, led to the suspension of operations at both Chittagong and Mongla seaports and Sittwe port in Myanmar. More delays are expected.

Sittwe port, partly financed by India, only opened last week, with the first ship arriving last Tuesday. The city was devastated by the cyclonic storm, which killed at least three people, wrecking roads and destroying homes and other establishments.

Operations at the port were suspended on Friday as cyclone Mocha approached.

Flight operations at Chittagong’s Shah Amanat International and Cox’s Bazar airports also stopped for 48 hours, due to winds from the cyclone that approached the coasts at speeds of nearly 200 kph.

On Friday, Bangladesh’s Met Office rated the cyclone as ‘high risk’, while Chittagong Port Authority suspended operations, removing all vessels from jetties and sending them to mid-sea to avoid damage. Container handling at jetties was also suspended.

Chittagong said it would resume handling ships this morning, after almost 60 hours, and is bringing back 17 vessels to the jetties.

A spokesperson said the port had not suffered any damage and explained: “As the alert has been withdrawn by the Met Office, we have resumed work.”

Stakeholders say container loading and unloading and delivery at port yards were delayed for more than two days, causing a knock-on effect for importers.

The cyclone also meant several vessels had been unable to reach Bangladesh as scheduled.

There will be no major congestion in the port. However, the situation is still unclear at this moment and will have a clearer picture in a day or two.

Flight operations at the two airports resumed on Monday morning.

A source at the port of Yangon, however, said there had been no stoppage of operations over the weekend, adding: “However, there was a little slowdown, but it had no impact and there were no delays.”

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