More than one and a half thousand lighter ships, oil tankers, bulk heads are waiting in Karnafuli river. Photo-People's View

PV Desk : Due to the strike of Bangladesh Lighterage Workers Union and Bangladesh Shipping Workers Federation, unloading of goods outside the port of Chattogram and transportation of goods by river has been stopped. More than one and a half thousand lighter ships, oil tankers, bulk heads are waiting in Karnafuli river.

Nabi Alam, joint general secretary of the Bangladesh Shipping Workers Federation, told the media on Tuesday (October 20th) morning that our strike has started from midnight. Unloading of goods from large ships to small ships at the outer anchorage is closed. There are more than fifty large ships in the outer anchorage. No cargo vessels are plying the river. Although some lighters tried to sail or unload goods, the workers of the nearby lighter ships forcibly stopped work. Lighters, tankers, bulk heads are sitting lazily in various safe places including Karnafuli river. Only passenger vessels have been kept out of the strike.

Shahadat Hossain, general secretary of Bangladesh Lighterage Workers Union, told the media that our strike has started from 7 pm on Monday (October 19). From evening till night we had tripartite discussions with various government agencies, ship owners and workers unions in Dhaka. The problem was not solved. Therefore, the pre-announced strike will continue indefinitely.

Chittagong Port Authority Secretary. Omar Farooq told the media that although there are no lighter ships plying outside the port, the main jetties of the port are GCB, CCT, NCT, Rivermooring, Dolphin Oil jetty and special berth container and cargo handling and lorries, trucks and covered vans are normal from the port.

An official of the Water Transport Cell (WTC) said that even though the lighter ships take serials from the WTC every day, there are no bookings due to the strike on Tuesday.

According to sources, open goods like wheat, maize, pulses, fertilizer, sugar, cement clinker, stone, coal, edible oil etc. are imported from abroad in large cargo ships. Due to low draft of Karnafuli river, these big ships cannot land directly on the jetty. So they were unloaded in small ships (lighters, tankers) waiting at the outer anchorage (sea) and taken by river to various river ports and industrial wharves. Transportation of raw materials from various industries has been virtually halted due to the strike of shipping workers. This has raised concerns among importers and industrialists about uninterrupted production and maintaining a normal supply chain.

Edited By-SPT