Chittagong inland vessel owners quit WTC

Dhaka,  Sun,  23 July 2017
Published : 16 May 2017, 22:06:20
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Chittagong inland vessel owners quit WTC

Association to decide on serial, allotment
Our Correspondent


CHITTAGONG, May 16: The inland vessel owners of Chittagong have quit Water Transport Cell (WTC) and decided to take serial and allotment of lighter ships through Inland Vessel Owners Association of Chittagong (INVOAC).

Water Transport Cell started its journey as a platform of three organisations of inland vessel owners - Bangladesh Coastal Vessel Owners Association (BCVOA), Coastal Ship Owners Association of Bangladesh (COAB) and Inland Vessel Owners Association of Chittagong (INVOAC), in 2003.

Till now the vessel owners used to place their vessels with the WTC which used to give serial and allotment of vessels for lightering cargoes from the mother vessels which cannot enter the port due to draft limitations, at a meeting every day.

The WTC controlled and regulated some 1200 inland, coastal and lightering vessels of the owners in the private sector.

These vessels are engaged in the lightering of cargo from the mother vessels at the outer anchorage of the Chittagong Port in the deep sea and transport the same to different destinations across the country through the river routes.

Initially the WTC was an organ of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry and was controlled primarily by the CCCI president, but later, the cell was run independently with an executive director as its head.

Concerned sources said that the decision of separation came at a meeting of the inland and lighter vessel owners of Chittagong at a hotel in the city on Saturday and they started operating vessels under the INVOAC from Sunday.

Haji Shafiq Ahmed, Basudev Bannerjee, Parvez Ahmed, Nurul Amin, Belayet Hossain, Wasiur Rahman Shilpy, Anisur Rahman, Abu Bakkar and Sheikh Abdulla Babul, among others, spoke in the meeting.

Although Sheikh Abdulla Babul and a few others in the meeting emphasised on the unity of the inland vessel owners. Many speakers were of the opinion that they would do business under the INVOAC, an entity of the owners of Chittagong.

The decision has also been intimated to the Water Transport Cell. Co-convenor from Chittagong in the WTC Haji Shafiq Ahmed said he had resigned from the WTC and informed the Cell that the owners of Chittagong-based inland vessels have decided to run their own business separately.

He said that 1,200 inland ship owners had been working jointly for a long time since the inception of the Water Transport Cell. But recently their relationship worsened.

In the backdrop of allegations and counter-allegations from the concerned quarters, the members of the INVOAC sat in the meeting on Saturday and took the decision. They said above 80 per cent of the lightering vessels are owned by those from Dhaka. Chittagong owners have about 250 vessels.

The BCVOA leaders, however, denied news of the split in the platform and said they are trying to communicate with the vessel owners in Chittagong to "maintain unity among the owners."

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