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            june 20, 2018

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TransKazakhstan 2018

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Bangladeshi exporters still await air cargo screening after a year


Bangladeshi air freight continues to suffer widespread bans and restrictions after Australia imposed the first ban because of a lack of proper cargo screening at its airports.
"Although it was decided last year to install the screening machines, those have not yet arrived," reports Dhaka's Financial Express.
And now with the EU ban made effective a month ago, the Bangladesh exporters are counting their losses.
Businesses are now required to go for re-screening of their goods at a third airport en route to a EU country. If Bangladesh is to have its name struck off from the banned list, authorities need to ensure screening of goods with bomb detection dogs or acceptable technology, said the Dhaka Financial Express editorial.
As of this week, FedEx Trade Networks has added to their troubles by adding a surcharge on shipments from Bangladesh to the European Union after stricter security standards were introduced.
FedEx will now apply additional re-screening charges of $0.15 per kilogramme on shipments heading from Bangladesh to the EU, reported London's Air Cargo News.
But even before informing the EU about the steps taken, Bangladesh will have to get a clearance certificate from the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for setting up of the explosive detection system, it said.
"Sending goods to a third airport for re-screening is not welcomed by many airlines because of its lack of manpower to handle shipments at the third airports. Some airlines have raised their fares to meet additional costs," said the editorial.
Bangladesh exports well over US$18 billion worth of merchandise to the EU. Readymade garments accounting for more than $17 billion overwhelmingly dominate exports.
On the other hand, Singapore Airlines has increased the number of its weekly flights on the Dhaka-Singapore route from seven to 10, partly to give air cargo capacity out of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport a boost, said SIA country manager TM Wang.
As the most important destination of Bangladesh's exports, the EU's share is more than 60 per cent. In such a situation, it is quite predictable that the costly and time consuming exports are going to tell upon the economy seriously in the days ahead.
"It remains a big question how soon the screening facilities are going to be in place at the Hazrat Shahjalal airport. The authorities have sat up, but this isn't going to help unless they place the screening mechanism in operation strictly in keeping with international norms as well as the bomb detecting dog squad," said the paper.
"It is unfortunate that despite strong signals of looming ban, the authorities failed to respond on time. It has been learnt that although it was decided last year to install the screening machines, those are yet to arrive," it said.

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