The European Union has put Bangladesh on a list of high-risk countries for operating air cargo services to EU countries, according to press reports out of Bangladesh, citing the country’s Civil Aviation Authority.
Last year, Australia, the U.K. and Germany termed Bangladesh a high-risk country and imposed a ban on direct cargo flights because of poor security at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
Of the three countries, Germany is the second largest apparel export destination for Bangladesh with garment items worth $4.66 billion exported to the EU country in 2015-16, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
Following the latest EU decision, which came into effect from June 1, businesses now require re-screening of their goods at a third airport en route to an EU country, reports said.
All the cargo originating in Bangladesh would now have to go through two additional modes of screening. First, it has to pass an X-ray screening with a dual-view monitor. After that, it has to be screened by an explosive detection dog or the Explosive Detection System (EDS) at the origin or the last point of departure before entering EU countries, according to reports. The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh has reportedly purchased two EDS machines to be delivered by August.
To get its name dropped from the high-risk list, Bangladesh reportedly has to ensure screening through bomb detection dogs or equipment before loading goods in an aircraft, security measures that apparently have not been adopted at Shahjalal airport. The country will then have to get a clearance certificate from the International Civil Aviation Organization, noting that it has successfully setting up an explosive detection system before it can be taken off the list.
Apart from Bangladesh, 12 countries are said to be on the high-risk list, with Kuwait also recently added.
The EU hasn’t issued a formal declaration, but Bangladesh authorities have reportedly been informed through diplomatic channels, but the problem isn’t a small one for Bangladesh, which had $18.68 billion in exports to the EU in 2015-16, with $17.15 billion from apparel shipments. The EU currently accounts for roughly 60 percent of Bangladesh’s garment exports.