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Hapag-Lloyd ship stuck at Chittagong Port over damage recovery

Owing to the situation, the ship could not take about 1,400 teus of export goods from Chattogram Port as per schedule. Later, the containers were sent to Colombo port in several ships step by step.


  • On 28 September, port authorities detained the ship after it hit a gantry crane at Ctg port
  • Hapag-Lloyd facing a daily loss of about $20,000 in demurrage as the ship is kept inoperative
  • The ship could not take about 1,400 TEUs of export goods from as per schedule
  • The containers were sent to Colombo port in several ships
  • CPA secretary says the ship will remain detained until the claim is settled

The Germany-based shipping company Hapag-Lloyd faces huge demurrage as its chartered feeder vessel has remained detained for 17 days owing to complications in assessing the damage to a gantry crane – a specialised equipment for handling containers – the ship had hit at Chattogram port.

Hapag-Lloyd launched the feeder service on the Chattogram-Colombo route in the last week of September and on 28 September, the port authorities detained the ship and sent it to the outer anchorage following the accident.

Subsequently, the Chattogram Port Authority informed the ship’s local agent that it would be allowed to leave the port only after an assessment of the damage and a resolution of the issue.

The shipping agent said the company has been facing a daily loss of about $20,000 in demurrage as a result of the ship being kept inoperative. The sooner the matter gets resolved the better for the country’s import and export trade.

Owing to the situation, the ship could not take about 1,400 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of export goods from Chattogram Port as per schedule. Later, the containers were sent to Colombo port in several ships step by step, it added.

Hapag-Lloyd Manager AbulKalam Azad told The Business Standard the goods were scheduled for the mother vessel at Colombo port on 6 October. But they missed the mother vessel due to a delay in sending the goods.

“As a result, there is a risk of the timelinefor the products to reach buyers being missed. The authorities are not allowing the ship to leave the port until the damage is assessed,” he added.

Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association Vice President KhairulAlamSujan said the issue with the ship should be resolved as soon as possible.

“If a ship is stuck like this day after day, it will have a negative impact on Bangladesh in the maritime world. The port authorities and the shipping company should take the initiative to resume its service as soon as possible,” he added.

According to Hapag-Lloyd, under the Chattogram Colombo Feeder (CCF) service, the Liberian-flagged container ship HansaRendsburg brought 1,700 TEU containers from Colombo port on 27 September.

A senior official at SaifPowertech, the terminal operator at Chattogram port’s Newmooring Container Terminal (NCT) yard, told TBS on condition of anonymity that the gantry crane that the vessel hit has been in operation since the accident.

After the accident, the Chattogram Port Authority formed a committee with workshop manager Mustafa Iqbal as its head.

After the formation of the committee, P&I Club Haul and Machinery started working to assess the damage to the gantry crane. But the company withdrew after receiving no response from the port authority on damage assessment.

Captain Ahmed Ruhullah of Henderson Marine Bangladesh Ltd, a vessel haul and machinery P&I club, told TBS, “We were initially involved with the damage assessment after the accident. We carried out a survey. But the port authorities did not give us any account of the damage. Later we reported the matter to our insurance company.”

Chattogram Port Authority Secretary M Omar Farooq told TBS that the ship will remain detained until the claim is settled.

“The matter will be settled on the basis of the report of the committee formed by the port. The committee will determine whose negligence caused the incident. If you contact us on Sunday, we can tell you when the matter will be resolved,” he added.

As the depth is less, at present ships with a depth of more than 9.5 metres cannot enter Chattogram port. As a result, containers are transported from Chattogram port to Colombo, Singapore and Malaysian ports by feeder vessels.

Similarly, imported goods from different countries are first cleared at transhipment ports and then brought to Chattogram port by feeder vessels or relatively small ships.

According to shipping industry officials, 40% of Bangladesh’s import and export goods are transported from Chittagong to Colombo port. The remaining 60% go to ports in Singapore and Malaysia. About 64 feeder vessels of various shipping lines operate from Chattogram port to the transhipment ports.

Apart from transhipment ports, a direct cargo transportation system has been launched from Chattogram to Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, Hong Kong and UK ports. About 8-10% of goods are transported directly from Chattogram to these ports.

Almost all the main line operators of ships have started the feeder service for transporting goods from Chattogramto Europe, America and African destinations via transhipment ports. Under such a process, the Germany-based Hapag-Lloyd launched a feeder vessel on the Chattogram-Colombo route. Initially, Hapag-Lloyd decided to conduct two to three trips a month.

Hapag-Lloyd chartered HansaRendsburg from Hansa Shipping for carrying their cargo on the Chattogram-Colombo route. Earlier in 2005, Hapag-Lloyd started a feeder service on the Chattogram-Colombo route. But it stopped the service after the first journey due to a lack of success. After 17 years, the German company again started a feeder service on the same route. But as before, the service was again interrupted on the first trip.


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