To help ease congestion at Chittagong seaport, facilitate quick clearance of FCL (Full Container Load) cargo by allowing unstuffing/delivery from outside the port area, and facilitate trade, Government encourages the establishment of Off-Dock facilities in the form of private container freight stations (CFSs) or inland container depots (ICDs).
Eligible private sector operators are licensed as CFSs/ICDs to store selected low risk import items and empty containers, and conduct Customs clearance formalities and allow unstuffing/delivery of selected categories of import consignments. These private ICDs/CFSs require to obtain permission from the National Board of Revenue, Ministry of Shipping, Chittagong Port Authority, Department of Environment and other relevant government agencies. They also need to fulfil certain conditions to get warehouse license from Customs House,
such as –
- Location proximity (will have to be within 20 kilometers of the port).
- Provision of proper office for customs officials.
- Adequate facilities for container handling, such as fork lift, cranes, straddle carriers etc.
- A well-secured warehouse, and tight security system with installed close circuit television (CCTV) cameras).
To download the NBR Order on criteria for granting license and operation ofprivate ICD/CFS in Bangladesh, click here.
In order to enable transfer of container-laden import goods to private ICDs to complete customs formalities, name of the private ICD has to be mentioned beforehand in the Letter of Credit (LC) and Bill of Lading (BL) of the consignment.
Private ICDs/CFSs perform three main functions:
- Handling of import containers of selected items (selected 37 low duty import items).
- Handling of all export containers.
- Storing and handling of empty containers.
Import items eligible to be cleared through private ICDs: Customs allows the following import items to be taken to private ICDs for completion of Customs formalities there:
- Mustard seed
- Waste paper
- Chickpeas (chola)
- Pulse (dal)
- Raw cotton
- Animal fodder
- Soyabean meal/extraction (2304.00.00);
- DDGS (2308.00.00);
- Rice bran (2302.40.00);
- Corn glutten meal (2302.10.00);
- Rape seed extraction (2306.49.00);
- Palm kernels (2306.60.00);
- Maize (1005.90.90);
- Soya beans (1201.90.90)
- Hard coke
- Marble chips
- Ball clay (in bulk)
- Garlic (perishable goods carried in normal dry container)
- Soda ash
- PVC resin
- Staple fibre
- Containerizedsquare/round log
- Empty container for beverages
- Marble stone
- Sodium sulphate
- Wood pulp
- Global salt.
In taking delivery of containers to private ICDs, NoC from the concerned shipping agent and Chittagong Port Authority have to be obtained.
Handling of import consignments: Import items are scanned at the respective port gate before containers carrying such items are taken out on-chassis from Chittagong Port to respective off-docks. Import goods are physically examined at off-docks following risk management techniques. In the case of raw cotton, the application of the LMD system initiated by Chittagong Chamber of Commerce to measure weight will be conducted in the private ICDs. Customs assessment is done at Chittagong Customs House and release order is issued therefrom. Goods are unstuffed and delivered from private off-docks.
Export formalities: Customs officials stationed at the private ICDs supervise the stuffing of export goods into containers, and where necessary, conduct physical examination. Assessment is done at Chittagong Custom House. After completing formalities at private ICD, stuffed containers are allowed to enter the port area, and on completion of the remaining formalities, shipped on board for export.
Handling of empty containers:
After unstuffing and delivery of import consignments either from the port area or the private ICDs, respective shipping agents (Main Line Operator or MLO) take the empty containers to their nominated depots or CFSs for storage. Some of these are later used for stuffing of export consignment, and some are re-exported as empty containers. If the empty containers are not disposed of within the allowed time limit, these containers are liable for disposal through auction.