The sudden sharp rise in fuel prices in Bangladesh is affecting imports through the Benapole land port as transport companies are demanding higher fares.
Importers and other concerned authorities claim that previously truck fares were set at Tk18,000-22,000, but now companies and truck drivers are demanding over Tk28,000.
Due to this, many importers were unable to clear their goods from the port despite paying the import duty, reported Bangla Tribune.
Animesh Mukharji, from Dhaka's Dilkusha area, said that his company's goods are imported from India. Some of his imported goods reached Benapole port but he could not release them as truck drivers were demanding around Tk10,000 extra.
He added that even though he had completed all other procedures with the Benapole Customs House, he had to leave his goods at the land port.
Abdul Hamid, the owner of Hamid Enterprise in Khulna had the same complaint.
"We won't be able to cover our original costs if we start paying what truck drivers and companies demand. Profit would be a different story," he said.
Another importer from Jessore, Sohel Rana, said that they paid trucks Tk7,000 to import goods from India but since Monday, the fares increased to Tk12,000.
"We cannot raise the prices of our goods as it is a competitive market. This will result in losses," he added.
In this regard, Benapole Transport Agency Owners Association President Atiquzzaman Soni said that the fare of transporting goods from Benapole port to other parts of Bangladesh has increased.
"Truck fares were bound to increase as fuel prices have increased. Now trucks have to pay at least Tk10,000 extra for fuel," he said.
Meanwhile, Bangla Tribune quoted Benapole Export-Import Association President Mohsin Milon, who said that transporting goods from Benapole to Dhaka through a truck cost around Tk18,000-23,000. "But now it has increased to Tk28,000-32,000."
He also noted that covered van fares increased to Tk35,000 from Tk25,000.
General secretary of the Benapole C&F Agents Staff Association, Sajedur Rahman said, "Due to the transport crisis, truck fares have now doubled compared to normal times. Many perishable goods traders are releasing their products by paying extra fares fearing spoilage."
Joint secretary of the association, Nasir Uddin said, "As many as 350 trucks carrying goods are imported and 250 are exported through Benapole port every day."
In the last fiscal year 2021-22, the import of goods was over 2.1 million tons, he mentioned.
On Friday night, the government raised the prices of fuel. The decision came into effect on Saturday.
Now the price of diesel and kerosene per litre at the consumer level is Tk114, octane Tk135, and petrol Tk130. The price of diesel has been increased by Tk 34 per litre, octane price by Tk 46 per litre, and petrol price by Tk 44 per litre.
The sharp rise came as a shock to the people who thronged filling stations on Friday night. In numerous videos shared on social media platforms, thousands were seen crowding the filling stations and jostling to get their vehicle tanks filled.
Protests erupted across the country after the government increased fuel prices by more than 50 per cent in the country, Dhaka Tribune reported.
Several student organizations including Bangladesh Students' Federation staged rallies protesting against the sudden rise in fuel prices in front of the National Museum at Shahbagh on Saturday, Dhaka Tribune reported.
Experts said that the recent hike in fuel prices has a severe impact on citizens, affecting their purchasing power, transport freedom, business, and overall standard of living. The rate at which fuel prices are increased is immediately affecting all sectors, including the manufacturing and transport sectors, and increases inflation. (ANI)