BM Depot damaged in the blast is partially operational

Partial operations of BM Container Depot Limited in Sitakunda, Chittagong, which was affected by the explosion two and a half months ago, have started. The depot authority started the operation after Chittagong Customs granted permission on two conditions last week. Initially, only empty containers were allowed to be unloaded and stored by customs.

On the night of June 4, 51 people, including members of the fire service, were killed in a fire explosion at the BM depot. More than two hundred were injured in this incident. Part of the depot was reduced to rubble. 154 containers carrying export goods and two containers carrying import goods were damaged in the accident.

Following the accident this month, following the request of the depot authorities, the customs allowed only the unloading and storage of empty containers on August 22. Two conditions are included in the permit. One of these conditions is that clearance from the Department of Environment, Department of Explosives and Fire Service should be taken within 15 days. Another is to sign a memorandum of understanding with a nearby fire fighting office or fire station within 15 days.

Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong Customs. Noor Uddin Milon signed the permit. After receiving permission to manage the empty containers, the depot authorities applied to the customs for permission to start import-export operations on Monday.

When asked, Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong Customs Noor Uddin Milan told Prothom Alo that BM Depot has been allowed to load and unload and store only empty containers subject to conditions. No decision has been taken yet regarding permission to start import-export operations.

After receiving the permission on August 22, empty containers are being taken and stored from the port and factory premises to the depot every day. Again the empty containers are being sent from the depot to the port.

According to the information from Chittagong Port and Private Container Depot Association, 1 thousand 373 empty containers have been loaded and unloaded at BM depot till Monday after the start of the operation. BM Depot has launched in 2011 with an investment of Tk 150 crore by two organizations from Bangladesh and the Netherlands. The chairman of this depot is Robert Pronk, a citizen of the Netherlands. Mostafizur Rahman is the managing director. Smart Jeans Managing Director Mujibur Rahman is the director.

BM Depot is one of the 20 container depots in Chittagong that have received permission from the National Board of Revenue (NBR). This depot handled 8 percent of the total import-export goods. The closure of operations after the accident put pressure on other depots.

The main function of container depots is the handling of export goods. Export products from factories are first sent to these private depots in covered vans. Export goods are unloaded from covered vans in the depot shed. Then it is loaded in the container and taken to the port and handed over to the ship. 90 percent of the goods exported through Chittagong port are managed in these depots. One-fourth of the imported goods are cleared from the port to these depots. Apart from this, storage of empty containers is also the job of the depot.