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Bangladesh: 72-Hour Strike Scheduled on Top of 52-Day Blockade; Insiders Predict Shipping Delays

Textiles moving in and out of Bangladesh could face more delays as the country’s opposition party has called a 72-hour hartal, or strike, starting Sunday to protest the current crossfire with the rival ruling party.

Bangladesh’s two major political parties, the ruling Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) have been in turmoil since the one-year anniversary of the country’s national elections last month, which Awami League government won but the BNP boycotted citing rigged results.

Unrest between the two has led to nationwide transportation blockades that have now been ongoing for 52 days, hindering the transit of goods and causing delays. No end to the transportation tie up is yet in sight.

The 72-hour strike is expected to further hinder the movement of imports and exports.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Atiqul Islam said in past reports that business in the country had finally begun to pick up post Rana Plaza, but the present unrest is putting buyers on edge. He said some buyers have said they it would be difficult to do business there should the problems persist much longer.

An industry insider familiar with the matter said one of his shipment trucks was burned in transit as a result of the turmoil.

“People who work there are concerned and the government needs to get involved,” the source said. “Buyers should build in another two weeks for delays.”