Germany is now the third country, after Australia and the U.K., to restrict direct cargo flights from Bangladesh due to security concerns. The decision was made by the LBA, Germany’s civil aviation authority, and was taken “because of information provided by our law enforcement authority and intelligence services.” Shipments from Bangladesh to Germany, the LBA said, now must be subjected to the EU’s high-risk cargo and mail (HRCM) procedures.
The restrictions are in effect despite efforts by the Bangladeshi government to upgrade security systems and procedures. There are also indications that the U.K. was moving any closer towards lifting its restrictions. Last month, the British firm Redline Assured Security Ltd. set up shop at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka to upgrade security systems and protocols at the airport.
According to Jim Termini, commercial director of Redline Assured Security, the LBA does not require shipments from Bangladesh to be shipped to a third country before entering Germany. If cargo operators in Bangladesh apply the correct HRCM measures, as per Commission Decision C(2015) 8005, including assigning the “SHR” code to a consignment, indicating that the procedures were followed, “it can go straight to Germany,” he said.
Germany represents the second-largest ready-made garments (RMG) destination in the common market for Bangladesh, valued at approximately US$4.75 billion, annually. This sartorial cargo makes up 95 percent of the country’s exports to Germany. Now, according to an unnamed official from the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) quoted in the Daily Star, all air cargo from Bangladesh bound for Germany will have to be re-screened at a third country before entering Germany. The new restrictions, the CAAB source added, are likely to drive up costs and make Bangladesh a less competitive location overall.
According to Seabury Group’s cargo and global trade database information, fashion-related air shipments from Bangladesh, prior to the latest announcement, were forecast to exceed 13,200 tonnes in 2016. Forecasts, according the database, were for the market to rise to 13,900 tonnes for 2017, 14,600 tonnes for 2018 and 15,300 tonnes for 2019.
[This article has been updated since it was originally published on June 28]