Direct Freight Route To Europe Starts As Songa Cheetah Leaves Ctg

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The new direct route will decrease transportation time by around 24 days, and save costs by 40%

The container ship Songa Cheetah left the Chattogram port for the Port of Ravenna in Italy with 952 TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) of export goods last week. This is the first time a ship will directly carry goods from the Chattogram port to a European port, taking only 16 days.

About 98% of the export products on Songa Cheetah are readymade garments and the remaining 2% are handicrafts, leather and jute products. Once the goods reach the Port of Ravenna, they will be delivered to various destinations in Europe as per the buyers’ demand, said Mohammed Rashed, chairman of Reliance Shipping and Logistics Limited.

According to shipping agents, currently, feeder vessels first transport Bangladeshi goods from the Chattogram port to transhipment ports – Colombo, Singapore, and Tanjung Pelepas and Port Klang of Malaysia – and some ports in China. There, the containers are loaded onto bigger vessels before they are sent to their final destinations in Europe. It takes around 40 days to carry goods from Bangladesh to Italy in this way.

The new direct shipping route between Bangladesh and Italy will decrease the transportation time by around 24 days and save costs by 40%.

Italian shipping company Kalypso Compagnia di Navigazione has introduced the direct service with two vessels: Songa Cheetah and Cape Flores. The Cape Flores arrived at the Chattogram port on 24 December 2021 with empty containers but did not carry any exports on the way back to Europe.

“Considering the importance of garment exports, the Chattogram Port Authority will prioritise ships on Italy-Bangladesh route in providing facilities, including berthing and key gantry crane,” said Rear Admiral M Shahjahan, Chairman, Chattogram Port Authority, at the inauguration of the Bangladesh-Italy direct route.

“The direct shipping route has started a landmark chapter in our economy. If other shipping lines want to launch such a direct route, the port authorities will extend all possible cooperation,” he added.

Mahbubul Alam, President, Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, “Bangladesh would be ahead of Vietnam in terms of garment exports if direct container shipping on the Italy-Bangladesh route can be kept uninterrupted because it will save lead time and cost.”

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