Clear hazardous chemicals from port

5 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) should not have allowed hazardous and flammable goods to pile up at the port shed over the years. We must take cautionary lessons from the 2020 Beirut Port explosion resulting from hazardous chemicals stored at a warehouse for a number of years. How could hazardous products pile up in the port sheds is a wonder! These must be cleared or destroyed urgently to avoid any risk to the primary seaport of the country.

Recently the authorities under the aegis of the ministry of shipping decided to clear the piled-up goods from the port sheds at the earliest. Though this is a good decision, we urge the officials to reconsider the decision to relocate such goods to private Inland Container Depots (ICD). We feel that such a decision may be unwise as it may put the lives of the people nearby those ICDs at risk.

There is a system by which the CPA is supposed to send documents of the undelivered consignments remaining at the port shed after 30 days to the customs authorities. Following that the customs authorities give notice to the importers urging them to take delivery of their goods within 15 days. The customs authorities can auction off the goods after the stipulated warning period of issuing the notice. By this, it is obvious that goods cannot remain undelivered after more than a total number of 45 days at the port.

But we wonder how come in reality imported goods, including hazardous ones, remain at the port yard undelivered year after year, posing a threat to the entire port and its adjacent areas. This once again shows that although there are very good rules and regulations in place in our country, the problem is that the concerned authorities are not diligent about their implementation.

Perhaps, imposing some kind of incentives for good work and fining for the lapse in maintaining or implementing the systemic rules and regulations can deter the transgressors. Such unlawful actions should not be allowed to continue undeterred year after year. Therefore, a permanent systemic solution must be found to ensure that none breaks the rules of safety standards anywhere, be it at the port or in any part of the country.