The Liberian flagged vessel, MV Songa Cheetah, has left Chittagong Port for Italy’s Porto di Ravenna (The Port of Ravenna) with 952 TEUs of export load containers, reports BSS.
This is for the first time; a container vessel is carrying export cargo directly to a European destination from the country’s premier seaport.
Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Chairman Rear Admiral M Shahjahan today inaugurated the direct freight service on the Bangladesh-Italy route at Jetty number 4 of New Mooring Container Terminal.
While inaugurating the direct freight service, M Shahjahan said considering the importance of garment export, CPA will give priority to all facilities including berthing, key gantry crane allocation of ships on the Italy- Chittagong route.
“Bangladesh-Italy direct freight service has started a landmark chapter in our economy,” he added.
He said that if other shipping lines want to launch such direct freight service, the port authorities will extend all possible cooperation.
President of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Mahbubul Alam said Bangladesh will be ahead of Vietnam in terms of garment exports if direct container shipping on the Italy-Chittagong route is kept uninterrupted.
He added saying that the new freight service will save lead time and shipping cost.
According to sources with shipping agents, about 98% of the export goods are readymade garments while the remaining 2% are handicrafts, and leather and jute products.
Once the goods arrive at the Ravenna port, they will be delivered to various destinations in Europe as per the demand of the buyers, they added.
As per the sources, it will take just 16 days to reach Italy for a ship through this route while currently, it takes about 40 days for export goods to reach Europe via transhipment ports.
This will reduce the shipment cost by around 40%.
Initially, two ships will transport export goods from Chittagong on the route.