The container ship Songa Cheetah reached the port of Chittagong on Saturday and is expected to depart for Porto di Ravenna (the Port of Ravenna) in Italy on Monday on the first direct commercial cargo voyage from Bangladesh to Europe.
A port pilot from the Port of Chittagong moored the vessel at Pier No. 4 of the New-mooring Container Terminal (NCT) at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, after arriving at the port’s outer anchorage.
Mohammad Rashed, chairman of Reliance Shipping – local shipping agent for the Songa Cheetah, said the container ship left the port of Ravenna for Chattogram on January 9 with 945 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of empty containers and 7 TEUs of raw materials. for the garment industry.
Captain Tanvir Hossain, chief operating officer of Saif Powertech – terminal operator of the NCT, told The Business Standard (TBS) on Saturday evening that containers were being unloaded from the vessel.
It will leave the port of Chittagong for Italy on Monday with around 1,000 TEUs worth of export containers, he added.
According to sources at shipping agents, around 98% of the export goods are ready-to-wear garments while the remaining 2% are handicrafts and leather and jute products. Once the goods arrive at the port of Ravenna, they will be delivered to various destinations in Europe according to buyer demand, they added.
Md Omar Farooq, secretary of the Chittagong Ports Authority, told TBS that the port authorities welcome the launch of the direct cargo service to Italy and called the development a milestone for the country’s economy.
“It will reduce business cost and save time. Chittagong Port Authority will extend all possible cooperation to continue this service.”
It will only take 16 days for a ship to reach Italy by this route while it currently takes around 40 days for export goods to reach Europe via transshipment ports. It will reduce the shipping cost by about 40%.
Currently, the price for transporting a 40-foot container ship from transshipment ports to Italy ranges between $10,000 and $14,000 depending on the shipping company, the people said, adding that the transport costs could be 6,000 to 7,000 dollars on the new route.
Currently, container ships bound for Italy from the port of Chattogram must first reach a European base port such as the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands), the port of Antwerp in Belgium and the port of Hamburg in Germany via transshipment ports such as Singapore, Colombo in Sri Lanka, Tanjum Palapas and Kelang in Malaysia and some ports in China. From there they can travel to Italy.
In some cases, goods are transported to Italy in mother ships directly from transhipment ports. But, most of the time, the containers are unloaded in the European base ports in the absence of a schedule from the mother ship in Italy. From there, the goods are shipped to Italy in collector ships.
Initially, two ships will transport Chattogram export cargo on the route.
The Italian shipping company Kalypso Compagnia di Navigazione SPA Italy will transport the Bangladeshi export goods via two container ships – Songa Cheetah and Cape Flores.
The Songa Cheetah is a Liberian flagship with a draft of 6.2 meters and a container capacity of approximately 1,100 TEUs.
The Cape Flores is the flagship of the Marshall Islands with a draft of 8.66 meters and a container capacity of 1,200 TEUs. Its length is 154.47 meters and its width is 25.19 meters.
The Cape Flores arrived at the port of Chattogram on December 24 with empty containers. He did not transport any export goods on the way back.