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Hydrogen peroxide exports yet to resume

Saleh Noman
16 Aug 2022 00:00:00 | Update: 15 Aug 2022 22:26:42
Hydrogen peroxide exports yet to resume

Despite lifting of the ban by the Port of Singapore, the problem of exporting hydrogen peroxide from Bangladesh has not been resolved, as shipping lines are still refusing to carry the chemical.

Since the fire and explosion in BM Container Depot, a private Inland Container Depot (ICD), in Chattogram on 4 June, international shipping lines and the Singapore Port Authority imposed restrictions on carrying and handling dangerous cargo consignments including hydrogen peroxide and some other basic chemicals from Bangladesh.

After the government and private level persuasion on 9 August the Singapore Port, the main transit port of Bangladeshi goods on international shipping routes, lifted the embargo.

But due to restrictions on shipping lines, the complexity of export of such cargo still persists.   

We think, after lifting the ban by Singapore Port, export of hydrogen peroxide will begin easily, said Dewan Mahmudur Rahman Pallob, Chief Marketing Officer of Al Razi Chemical Complex Limited, one of the exporters of basic chemicals from Bangladesh

But Shipping lines are yet to agree to carry such cargoes on safety ground, he said. Shipping lines have not clarified why they are not carrying dangerous cargo consignments from Bangladesh.  

If they don’t carry cargoes, export will not resume, he added.

On 4 June fire and explosion in consignments of hydrogen peroxide in the BM Depot, a sister concern of Al Razi Chemical Complex, left dozens of people dead and export-import cargoes worth TK 700 core.

After that international shipping lines stopped carrying dangerous cargoes to and from Bangladesh. The basic chemicals factories were forced to suspend or limit production.

Fatema Akter, a senior official of Ocean International Ltd, a local agent of Hyundai Merchant Marine, a mainline shipping operator, told The Business Post that they didn’t receive any instruction in this regard. Sources said, at a virtual meeting last month organized by the Commerce Ministry, it was decided that after ensuring the international standard of packaging of products of dangerous cargoes shipping lines should carry the products.

Officials of the shipping agents association and officers of government agencies were present at the meeting.  

At least 10 factories in Bangladesh produce and export various types of basic chemical products including hydrogen peroxide.

They exported goods worth $21,203,501.8 in the FY2020-21, according to the Basic Chemical Manufacturers Association of Bangladesh.

After the BM Container Depot incident, the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) insisted on strictly following the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) guideline and transport policy.

The CPA also says such cargo transportation must follow the instructions of the Bangladesh Navy as well.

Mostafa Haider, Managing Director of Samuda Chemical Company, the leading hydrogen peroxide exporter of the country, said: “As the Singapore Port lifted the ban now we will further contact the Commerce ministry and other related agencies including shipping lines to ship the DG cargoes.”

“Around 2000 tonnes of hydrogen peroxide are now stuck in our factory,” Haider said. If export will not return to normalcy soon, the losses of the sector will be unbearable, he said.