The Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) is very confident of the port facilities’ compliance with international regulations ahead of a scheduled annual visit by the US Coast Guard this week despite its ongoing struggle to manage a number of abandoned import containers. containing dangerous goods.
As part of its International Port Security (ISP) program, a four-member U.S. Coast Guard delegation will arrive today and begin a three-day visit to the nation’s premier seaport beginning Monday.
The delegation will check whether the security measures in place at the port comply with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, sources said.
The team will meet today with the Director General of the Department of Navigation in Dhaka.
During the three-day visit, the team will meet with CPA officials and also visit different port facilities, several private inland container (ICD) depots and the only state-owned oil refinery, Eastern Refinery Limited.
After their visit, the team will submit their annual port safety compliance audit report to US Coast Guard Headquarters.
The U.S. Coast Guard IPS Program was established in 2003 to strengthen implementation of the ISPS Code to reduce risk to U.S. ports, vessels, and the global shipping system.
The CPA began to improve its security systems on July 1, 2004 in accordance with the ISPS Code ratified by the International Maritime Organization.
During the US Coast Guard’s last visit in 2019, the team made some recommendations to improve security at Chattogram Port, such as installing better security systems at entry and exit points and scanning export containers.
CPA Chairman Rear Admiral M Shahjahan said most of the requirements have already been implemented as the procurement of scanners for export containers is underway.
After a fire devastated a private ICD on June 4, the ACP met with various stakeholders, including shipping agents, supply vessel operators and freight forwarders, and issued several instructions to comply with the International Maritime Code Dangerous Goods (IMDG) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The instructions include prohibiting the use of damaged or partially damaged containers and releasing dangerous import cargoes as soon as possible.
Citing the steps taken to ensure ISPS code compliance, Shahjahan said he was fully confident that the US Coast Guard team would be satisfied with the port’s security measures.
“Their remark (from the delegation) is important for the country’s foreign trade,” he added.
Asked why the port has not yet installed scanners for export containers, Shahjahan said the tender procedure has already started for the purchase of two scanners.
A senior APC official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he had implemented all the recommendations in accordance with his responsibility.
However, some customs authority requirements have yet to be fully implemented.
Since customs officials delayed the purchase of scanners, APC had to initiate the purchase out of its own funds to comply with the requirements, he added.