Source: The Loadstar
Date: 15th February 2022
Encouraged by last week’s launch of a direct shipping service between Bangladesh and Italy, three more European countries have now expressed interest in similar services.
Companies from Slovenia, Portugal and Denmark are looking to launch vessel services in a bid to cut transit times and cut costs.
“The direct service cuts costs between 30% and 40% and transit by a week or so,” said a reliable source.
After leaving Chittagong port on 7 February with 952teu, Liberia-flagged carrier Songa Cheetah, is now on its way to Ravenna in Italy. As a direct service, it will not stop at regional transhipment ports such as Colombo, Singapore, or Port Klang, reaching Italy in 16 days.
Bangladeshi containers for Europe on feeder vessels from Chittagong to transhipment ports and then onto larger vessels to Europe take 24 days or so, depending on hub congestion.
Officials said executives from Slovenia, Denmark and Portugal had tasked their embassies to approach Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) about launching direct services.
CPA chairman said Chittagong port would offer priority berthing for any vessels to and from Europe to encourage more countries to come forward with such plans.
Bangladesh is the second-largest global manufacturer of apparel, of which more than 50% is exported to Europe and exporters have been clamouring for direct shipping services for a long time.
“Our containers are stuck in transhipment ports for weeks in the event of excessive congestion,” said a garment factory owner, adding that using transhipment ports made Bangladeshi goods uncompetitive.
“Direct shipping services can help cut lead time and make us more competitive,” he added.