63 percent of the country’s export products are destined for various European countries and America. And 8 percent of the imported goods come from these countries. It is easy to transport goods to these places by sea through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. But recent attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on commercial ships in the Red Sea have posed a major threat to that route. To avoid this, the leading shipping companies Maersk, MSC, CMA-CGM, COSCO and Hapag Lloyd have avoided this route and started transporting goods through the best of Africa.
The country’s import-export trade is in trouble. Foreign shipping companies have already imposed additional surcharges by announcing alternative routes. Apart from this, the local businessmen have to face the trouble of additional time in addition to the cost of transporting the goods by alternative routes.
Vincent Clark, chief executive of shipping company Maersk, said, ‘The amount of goods that go through the Red Sea is 10-12 percent of the goods carried around the world. And safe movement on this path is very important for us. We are still not sure about the safety of our sailors on this route. So we decided to avoid this route.’
As a result of this decision, the cost of transportation suddenly increased. The cost of sending a 40-foot container to Europe or America has jumped from $2,000 to $3,500 to $3,800. After the dollar crisis, traders believe that such additional costs will have a negative impact on foreign trade.
Vice President of Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association Khairul Alam Sujan said, ‘They are going round with Europe-America products. That’s why they have decided on us the 13-14 days extra fee.’
Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association President Syed Mohammad Arif told Independent Television that the factories here go into production with the raw materials that come from outside. If it goes on for long, the mills may run into trouble.
Currently, it takes 25 to 26 days for a container to reach Europe via the Red Sea and Suez Canal. And it takes 30 to 40 days to go to America. It will take 10 to 12 more days to go to the new route.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, have launched missile attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea since the Israeli attack on Gaza, Palestine, began on October 7. They said that they are carrying out these attacks to support the Palestinian fighters in Gaza. Many ships have been forced to change course due to Houthi attacks.