Customs software glitch hinders container unloading at Ctg Port

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TBS Report

October 18, 2022, 10:15 p.m.

Last modification: October 18, 2022, 10:21 p.m.

Photo: Mohammad Minhaj Uddin/TBS

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Photo: Mohammad Minhaj Uddin/TBS

Unloading of containers, including those containing dangerous goods (DG), at Chattogram Port has been hampered for a week due to complications with software upgrades used by customs.

As a result, issuance of registration number and General Import Manifest (IGM) is delayed due to software complications, resulting in cargoes being stuck at jetties and huge demurrage being paid every day during the additional period.

According to the rules, a shipping agent submits the IGM in the ASYCUDA World System software 24 hours before arrival in port.

An IGM is a legal document that is completed by the carrier of the goods at the customs place of destination. It contains details of all goods arriving at that destination.

Contacted for comment, Chattogram Customs Commissioner Faizur Rahman did not respond.

But Customs programmer Shamimul Islam said complications with the IGM had been resolved.

Seeking anonymity, however, a Chattogram port transport department official said the IGM issue was not yet resolved.

Chattogram Port Secretary Omar Faruq said they frequently had problems getting the IGM due to software issues.

“A similar problem arose this time too and we informed the customs authorities,” he said.

The CPA terminal manager sent a letter in this regard to the Commissioner of Customs on October 16.

The letter says that it has become difficult to see the list of bills of lading (BL) of DG containers like the previous time after the upgrade of the global ASYCUDA system. As a result, verification of landing clearance of dangerous goods consignments by the Bangladesh Navy has become difficult.

The letter also said that the freighter EF Emma came from Kelang Port in Malaysia on October 13 and docked at NCT Pier 3.

But the containers could not be unloaded in time because the IGM was not available, which created difficulties in the entire operational activities of the port, including container handling.

The National Board of Revenue very often migrates the global ASYCUDA system. He migrated the software from 8:00 p.m. on October 14 to 8:00 a.m. on October 15. At the time, the filing of the entry slip, customs duties and the payment of the various shipments remained suspended.

This time, the port authority encountered difficulties after the software migration.

So far, no backlog has been created at the port. But port insiders fear a potential backlog if the situation drags on.

Currently, it takes three days for a ship to load and unload at the port. But the unloading process is delayed by four to five hours due to software complications, terminal operator sources said. On average, 10 ships enter the port daily.

Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association President Syed Mohammad Arif said shipping agents submit the IGM to the customs department software 24 hours before the vessel arrives. If the unloading of containers is not completed on time, the vessel must pay a penalty of $12,000 to $20,000 for one day.

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