Holding a port hostage, one that is responsible for 97% of all Bangladeshi export and import, is absolutely uncalled for.
Until yesterday, for four days, Chittagong port came to a standstill as a result of the Chittagong Prime Mover-Trailer Owners-Workers Unity Council strike, leading to significant losses for businesses around the country.
RMG has suffered the most, with a majority of the cargo moving in and out of Chittagong port belonging to the industry.
No one is in the right in this conflict.
We understand that both the government and the Chittagong container operators have issues they’d like to be addressed.
With cargo often exceeding the weight limit, especially on roads which will not be able to sustain the weight, it is imperative that the container operators abide by the letter of the law. We cannot let the Dhaka-Chittagong highway deteriorate.
But it is also up to the government that the issue of harassment via the facade of fines is addressed, among other issues such as the rate of taxes.
What we need is dialogue, not ad-hoc bans and reactive strikes which end up harming everyone.
We are glad that the strike has now been postponed while a solution is hammered out, but that is not good enough.
We cannot allow the country to revert back to yet another standstill.
It is especially concerning since it affects RMG, our biggest industry, and might cause irreparable damage in the long run, to say nothing of short-term economic losses. This is even more galling since RMG is not one of the industries responsible for overweight cargo.
Not only do we hope that this situation is resolved forthwith, let us take steps to ensure it is not repeated.