Freight forwarding charges raised by over 33pc

The government has raised forwarding charges by more than 33 per cent to Tk 2000 for each import bill, which has ended a long row between apparel makers and freight forwarders but made them both unhappy.

The new tariff will, however, be effected from December 1, officials said on Monday.

A tripartite meeting involving BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association), BAFFA (Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association) and the government held Sunday at the Shipping Ministry and fixed the new charges, they said.

Freight forwarders, who issue delivery orders, will get Tk 2000 for each bill of lading (B/L)

The country's freight forwarders numbering more than 1000 used to charge Tk 1,500 for issuing no objection certificate (NOC) during the immediate past caretaker government.

Earlier in 2003, the government fixed Tk 1250 for the freight forwarders as NOC.

Syed Badrul Hoque, senior vice president of the BAFFA, told the FE: "I don't know on what ground the government has deferred the realisation of new tariff."

BGMEA president Abdus Salam Murshedy said: "This increase in charges will adversely affect the clothing sector."

"I don't understand why the government has raised the charges," Mr Murshedy added.

Mr Badrul also said most of the members belonging to the BAFFA have become frustrated as they wanted the new charges be fixed at Tk 2500.

Prior to assuming power by immediate past caretaker government, the forwarders used to charge randomly between Tk 2500 and Tk 5000 on each NOC.

Mr Badrul claimed the new tariff fixed by the government is even much lower in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan freight forwarders are charging $50 on each B/L.

Earlier in June in 2009, freight forwarders had decided to increase the charge.

But they had to postpone the decision after the then shipping minister Dr Afsarul Ameen had requested them to wait as the global economic crisis was taking its toll at that time around the world.

The freight forwarders arrange cargo movement to an international destination.

Also referred to as international freight forwarders, they have the expertise that helps them get the job of preparing and processing the documentation and carrying out other related activities pertaining to international shipment.

But, the freight forwarders said they would not increase charges on shipments for export.

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