An ongoing ban on direct cargo flights from Dhaka to the UK due to security screening concerns from Britain’s Department of Transport, has resulted in a back log of airfreight at Bangladesh’s international airport.

Prior to the ban, Bangladesh national airline Biman International carried 100 tonnes of air cargo a week direct to London. Now, stricter cargo screening at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (DAC) means that it takes longer to process each consignment.

The new security companies have enforced carton level screening at the Dhaka airfreight terminal which is causing delays in cargo being available to meet airline departure schedules.

Shippers are now looking to use sea-air services as an alternative, as new security screening introduced to tighten up security also means that Goods on Hanger (GOH) bespoke frames cannot be processed at the airport.

Toll Global Forwarding is providing alternative transport solutions for its customers in Bangladesh and the UK including moving urgent cargo out of Chittagong airport on an Emirates freighter to Dubai.

For sea-air shipments, Toll is using Chittagong port, where they consolidate LCL cargo in their CFS; and work on factory load for FCL. The shipment is then routed either via Singapore or Dubai, based on the shipper’s transit time requirements. It is a seven day transit time to the UK via Singapore; routing via Dubai takes 15 days

The additional security screening required at DAC only applies to cargo destined directly for the UK. While screening is still required at trans-shipment airports, where all cargo is unloaded and rescreened before the onward connection, other carriers have benefited from providing cargo capacity via their own hubs for onward transportation to London, “skipping” the lengthy screening in DAC. These include Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Etihad, Jet Air and Kuwait Air. There are also regular freighter services to Middle East hubs.

This has also resulted in an increase in airfreight rates for all carriers.

The embargo imposed on direct air cargo by the UK Department for Transport remains in force, continuing to affect UK importers seeking to import from Dhaka. There are indications from Dhaka that the back log will clear in the coming weeks, as the security agency is satisfied with the screening arrangements and expect cargo can be processed in a shorter time frame.

For more information on sea-air services, please contact Toll Global Forwarding.