Business at ICDs dropped in 2023
KDS Logistics Limited managed to retain its position as the top private inland container depot (ICD) in terms of handling export and import cargoes in 2023, a year when business in ICDs saw a year-on-year decline of nearly 11 per cent.
It marked the sixth consecutive year that KDS topped the rankings.
There are 19 privately owned ICDs located in and around the port city, two of which are yet to begin handling export and import containers, instead handling only empty containers.
The remaining 17 have been contributing to easing the congestion at the country's premier seaport in Chattogram by facilitating quick clearance of both export and import laden containers as well as handling empty containers.
Almost 90 percent of export laden containers are handled by these ICDs before their shipment through Chattogram port. Exporters from different parts of the nation send their export cargoes on trucks to these ICDs, where cargoes are loaded in containers and sent to the port.
These ICDs handle 23 percent of the total imports handled by Chattogram port, with 38 types of import laden containers that are unloaded at the port being sent to ICDs for delivery to consignees.
A total of 877,689 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of import and export containers were handled by the 17 ICDs in 2023, showing a negative growth of 10.75 percent compared to 983,452 TEUs in 2022.
The five leading ICDs -- comprising KDS, Portlink Logistics Centre Limited, two units of Summit Alliance Port Limited (East and West), Incontrade Limited and Esack Brothers Industries Limited -- jointly handled 542,783 TEUs of export and import containers, around 61.84 per cent of the total volume.
Still, container handling dropped across the board. KDS' handling dropped by 8.8 percent, Portlink's by 14.39 percent, Summit Alliance Port Limited's (East and West) by 8.16 percent, Incontrade's by 11.3 percent, and Esack Brothers' by 15.46 percent.
Among them, KDS Logistics handled the most import and export containers, amounting to 144,814 TEUs, around 16.50 per cent of the total volume.
In 2023, the 17 ICDs handled a total of 661,152 TEUs of export containers, down 11 per cent from the previous year, and 216,537 TEUs of import containers, down 9.7 per cent from 2022.
KDS Logistics was also top in terms of handling export containers, handling 109,554 TEUs in 2023.
KDS Logistics Executive Director (ED) Md Ahsanul Kabir said 2023 was a challenging year for business as overall foreign trade declined, thereby impacting the trade volume of ICDs.
Despite the fall in volume, they tried to focus on developing efficiency to ensure better services to clients, he said.
Nurul Qayuum Khan, president of the Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association, told The Daily Star that the overall fall in the inflow of export and import cargo was the reason for the negative growth in total handling by ICDs.
Most ICDs saw their revenue drop due to decreased business in 2023 and outstanding dues in the market are climbing, he said, adding that the owners were facing difficulties in paying off instalments on their bank loans.
However, Khan hoped for a better situation in 2024.