Demonstrators at a human chain on Sunday placed their seven-point demand to Chattogram Port Authority’s Chairman Rear Admiral SM Abul Kalam Azad
The Inter-district Truck and Covered Van Owners Association organised a human chain on Sunday demanding Chattogram port passes for transport companies' representatives, so that they can personally check on goods being loaded onto vehicles.
Following the demonstration in front of the Bandar Bhaban in port city, the goods transport agency handed over a memorandum and placed their seven-point demand to Chattogram Port Authority's Chairman Rear Admiral SM Abul Kalam Azad.
The association also sought the authority's recognition of the goods transportation sector as one of the major users of the port, and implementation of a system for paying the port entry fee digitally.
President of the organisation Latif Ahmed presided over the event, while Joint General Secretary Md Touhidul Alam moderated the programme.
At the event, the organisation's General Secretary Chowdhury Jafar Ahammad said, "Every day, we transport almost 100% of the goods unloaded at the Chattogram port, using covered vans, trucks and prime movers.
"It is the duty of transport companies' representatives to check the packaging, weight and quantity of imported goods on behalf of the importers, before the cargo is loaded onto vehicles. The representatives also inform importers when any irregularities are found in the shipment."
He continued, "If a representative fails to inform the importers about any irregularities with the goods immediately, the transport company and the vehicle's owner are then held responsible over the matter. So, the representatives have significant responsibilities at the port.
"They are allowed inside private off docks and container handling depots, but are not permitted inside the port premises. Not long ago, the representatives were allowed to enter the port premises after filling out a C&F form, but this facility has been revoked."
"Under the circumstances, the transportation companies are suffering heavy losses," Jafar added.
Meanwhile, speakers at the programme also pointed out that a lack of supervision during the goods loading process allows labourers to load cargo as they see fit. Which is causing goods to get stolen or damaged by the time they reach their destination.
As a result, the transport owners are facing harassment and hefty fines, they added.
The association's Vice-President M Kibria Dovash was present at the event among many others.