• There are about 3500 exporting garment factories in Bangladesh that produce finished ready-made garment (RMG) items and export them to foreign countries.


  • There are 18 inland container depots (ICDs) or off-docks that ‘handle’ exportable RMG goods. Besides RMG goods, the ICDs also handle knit-wear products, jute and jute products and all other exportable goods like from Bangladesh leather and leather products, potato, potato pulp, ground nut, maize, handy crafts, fabric roll, bamboo, broken plastic bottle, ceramic, wigs, RMG wastage etc.


  • All the above goods are exported in containers. Companies (mostly foreign) that own containers and container-carrying sea-going ships/vessels are called Main Line Operators (MLOs). MLOs operate in our country through agents called Shipping Agents (SAs). The ICDs/Off-Docks have contract/agreement with MLOs/SAs for storage, transportation and handling of their containers.


  • For an ICD/Off-Dock the following are required:


  1. A land area of 15 acres surrounded by a 15-feet high boundary wall which mostly covers a container yard to store and handle containers.
  2. Cargo Freight Station (CFS) or Warehouse with an average area of 200,000 sq. ft. to store and handle export goods.
  • Container handling equipment like reach-stackers, side-lifters, top-loaders, forklifts etc to handle containers. These equipment lift-on, lift-off and move containers from one place to another in the container yard.
  1. An operational software to run the operational activities of the ICD.
  2. A Custom Office has to be in an ICD/Off-Dock where the Government Custom Officers led by a Deputy/Assistant Commissioner are stationed and they perform all custom formalities related to export of any good from Bangladesh.


  • Most of the garment factories are housed in a building (or on a floor in a building) and do not have infrastructures to store or handle containers which are required to export RMG products. The garments factories give contracts to companies called Freight Forwarders (FFs) to ship out their products to foreign countries. These FFs have agreement/contract with ICDs/Off-Docks to handle export goods of their exporters.


  • The operational procedure is as follows:


  1. Exporters send their export goods to ICDs/Off-Docks by truck or covered van after being guided by their Freight Forwarder.
  2. The truck or covered van carrying export goods come to the ICD/Off-Dock nominated by the FF.
  • After formalities at the gate of ICD/Off-Dock, the truck or covered van carrying export goods come to the CFS/Warehouse of ICD.
  1. The ICD unload the export goods by its laborers.
  2. The ICD has the export goods sorted (if required) and then store the goods until stuffing (putting the cargo into container)
  3. The custom officers at ICD appraise the export goods, sign off the export documents and FF gives Stuffing Plan (Cargo Loading Plan/CLP) and nomination of container (which MLO’s container is to be used for stuffing) to ICD.
  • The ICD takes MLO’s container from its container yard and places it at the CFS/Warehouse.
  • The ICD stuffs containers with export goods
  1. The ICD dispatches the export loaded container to Chittagong Port for vessel loading.