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Bangladesh Cargo Security Situation Improves, UK Expected to Lift Ban

When the U.K. government realized security at Dhaka International Airport in Bangladesh was far more lax than they’d like, the country banned all cargo coming in on direct flights between the two nations.

Since the ban, which took effect in March, the British government moved its own airport security troops in to help correct what it deemed a lapse in 80 percent of cargo security at the Dhaka Airport. A team of 29 aviation experts from U.K. firm Redline Aviation Security have been training Bangladesh staff on security control and scanning cargo carton by carton—cause for quite a backlog at customs.

Australia instituted a similar cargo ban in December but withdrew it last week citing Bangladesh’s progress in improving security at the airport. Australia also banned incoming cargo from Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Somalia at the same time.

“We have already made significant progress on airport security that will also help us to get cargo ban withdrawn from the U.K. soon,” Bangladesh civil aviation and tourism minister Rashed Khan Menon told the Financial Express.

Australia removed the ban under the condition that all cargo coming from Bangladesh has to be rescreened at any stopover en route to Australia.

An official from British certification company BCC visited the Dhaka Airport recently and is expected to issue a report on his findings, the result of which will determine whether the indefinite cargo ban does in fact get lifted.

Menon told the Financial Express that the U.K. minister will send a delegation to Heathrow Airport in short order to discuss the matter further.

“I am hopeful the U.K. government will withdraw its direct cargo flight ban from Bangladesh soon,” he said.

Late last month shippers in Bangladesh said customs was backed up by two to three weeks, and delays in deliveries to the U.S. were “severe.”

According to Menon, however, the slow down was due to security equipment being rearranged, but, he added, “We have already overcome the problem and currently the cargo handling returned to previous speed,” according to the Financial Express.