Freight train service was suspended two days after the passenger train service suspension
Bangladesh Railway is unable to continue freight train service between Dhaka and Chittagong, the lifeline of goods transportation.
Freight train service remained suspended from March 26, two days after the passenger train services were suspended across the country to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The freight train service was suspended mostly due to the space shortage at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Dhaka’s Kamalapur, a container handling and storage facility.
In addition, the delay of the container uploading process by the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) also hampers the freight train service.
Bangladesh Railway Additional Director General (operation) Miya Jahan said: “We are unable to properly continue the freight train service due to the lack of space at the ICD in Dhaka, and the container handling problem at Chittagong port.
“The operation has been started again in a limited scale but that is also being interrupted due to various reasons,” he told the Dhaka Tribune on Saturday.
“Usually six to nine freight trains run between Dhaka and Chittagong every day. But right now, we can only operate a maximum of two trains,” he added.
A total of 19 private ICDs deal with containers under the CPA.
CPA and the ICD officials said ICD and port operations are being limited due to the extended public holidays as they are facing a manpower shortage amid the coronavirus fear.
Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan said: “I visited the ICD which is overloaded with goods and I have given them direction to clear the goods and make space.
“I also spoke to the Shipping Ministry for ensuring smooth operation at the Chittagong port,” the minister told Dhaka Tribune.
Bangladesh Railway, the national freight carrier, currently carries mainly oil, marble and stones, food grains, fertilizer, parcels, and containers in oil tankers, luggage vans, bogie open and covered wagons.
The railway carries around eight percent of the total containers handled at Chittagong port.