Container units are the most integral part of the shipping, trade and transport sectors. These shipping containers are structures to store various kinds of products that need to be shipped from one part of the world to another. Different types of container sizes that are using to transport the goods such as 20′, 40′, 40HQ, 45′, and 45HQ, etc. And among them, two well-known container sizes that are being used in goods transportation in our country are 20’ and 40’. Importer and exporter can use FCL or LCL method to use container shipment. Someone can book full container and its call FCL (full container loading) booking. But someone can book partial space of a container and its call LCL (less container loading) booking.
The product that has dramatically changed the character of port cities worldwide are shipping containers. Early age when container shipping was not invented, it was tough to transport finished goods or raw materials safely and timely without damaging. Though container shipping is a little bit costly than bulk cargo, so why the business community is interested in using container shipping? The main purpose of container shipping is to make a secure transportation of goods. Container shipping is a little bit costly than bulk cargo. Even though, the business community is interested in using container shipping for ensuring a secure transportation of goods. By using container shipping sender and receiver try to protect their goods from rain or sea water, pilfering or missing during transportation, product shape damaged by movement etc.
The first vessel purpose-built to carry containers was invented & began operation in Denmark in 195I. Later on, the popularity of goods transportation through container increased gradually. Depending on the type of products to be shipped or the special services needed, container units may vary in dimension, structure, materials, and construction etc. Container mainly made of durable solid steel and airtight lock system to protect goods quality.
Before goods were imported and exported through bulk cargo. Local traders have to pick their goods from port once vessel arrived or they have to send their goods to the port for uploading into a vessel. But several problems arose to load and unload goods from bulk cargo; it also took much time that increased handling cost. Moreover, risk of missing or damaging exists while transporting goods via trucks or any other vehicles toward factories from the port. To escape these problems later various types of shipping containers are being invented to meet the requirements of all kinds of cargo shipping i.e. dry storage, cold storage, open top, flat rack, open side storage etc. At present business context of Bangladesh, 93 percent of goods is exported by sea freight via containers. On the other hand, 52 percent goods are imported via containers except fuel, iron slag, coal, cement clinker and some food stuff.
Most of the world renowned container shipping lines and Logistics Company have set up their regional office in Bangladesh to enhance their business. But regret to say big mother vessel can’t birth at our port as it doesn’t have sufficient depth. Our port has a facility to birth at best 10-meter draft vessel. Most of the time big mother vessel birth at Singapore, Colombo or port Keelung as there exist convenient facility. Later those mother vessels transfer their particular containers to small feeder vessel which will sail towards Bangladesh. Alternatively, those small feeder vessels carry loaded container from Bangladesh port and sail towards Singapore, Colombo or port Keelung to transfer their particular container into big mother vessel. Readymade garment is our main export item. So manufacturers usually import garment raw materials and accessories through container and later export finished garment through container.
It is the main scenario of our import-export business. Beside this industrial machinery, vehicles, and other essential commodities import through container. If someone wishes to import goods through FCL container, it can be directly brought his factory premises via port. It is remarkable that once vessel birth at port you can keep your container in the port yard around four working days. By this time if you are not able to release the container from port yard you will get demurrage. But if someone wishes to import goods through LCL container, first it will arrive at port sheds then it will open in front of other goods owners to deliver. If you are not able to release the goods from the port sheds, it will send to auction yard after 41 days.
On the other hand, if someone wishes to export goods through FCL container, first bring the container to upload the goods at factory premises, or he has to send his goods to a private depot for uploading into a container. Then the container forwards to port yard to pull into a vessel. But if someone wishes to export goods through LCL container, he needs to send whole goods to a private depot shed then they will load those goods in a particular container. Once a container completely loaded, then they will forward it to port yard to pull into a vessel. Generally, containers are being used to load and unload commercial goods in many countries of the world. Container transportation system was inaugurated to load and unload the goods at warehouses or factory premises to reduce extra hassle. Nowadays 84 percent of containers are loaded and unloaded at private port sheds and depots due to the shortage of port facilities and systematic complexity in Bangladesh. To overcome this situation most of the times in Bangladesh containers are unloaded at the port. After that, these containers are forwarded to the private yard to unload respectively. Some logistic company has largest private ICD/ CFS, having 100 acres fully paved facility. This trick reduces extra pressure and increases containers handling capabilities of port authority. But double works are accomplished due to shortage of port facilities, and infrastructures problem. For this reason, traders have to expend more money. On the other hand, traders have to send their goods to the private yard to upload in a container. Then those containers need to send Chittagong or Mongla port to upload into a vessel.
Goods transportation through the container is a unique and versatile method in the world. Govt. should procure modern equipment, implement automation facilities and enhance infrastructure to boost up container handling capabilities which will reduce port congestion, lead-time, extra demurrage charges, missing or damaging goods etc.