The cost of shipments to Germany, Bangladesh’s second largest export destination, has increased at least 5 cents per kilogram for suspension of direct cargo flights from Dhaka to Berlin for security reasons. Germany’s federal civil aviation authority imposed a ban on direct flights from Dhaka to Berlin on June 27 citing Bangladesh to be a ‘high risk’ country due to poor security at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. As a result, businesses now have to carry the goods after re-screening at another airport, said Mahbubul Anam, president of Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association. The cargos are sent from Dhaka by Emirates, Etihad, Saudia and Oman airlines to different airports in Middle East. From there, the goods are re-screened before loading them onto a Berlin-bound flight. Before the suspension of the direct flight, the German national flag carrier, Lufthansa, used to carry 80 tonnes of goods from Bangladesh in its lone weekly fight from Dhaka to Berlin. Germany is the third country, after Australia and the UK, to impose a ban on direct cargo flights from Bangladesh on security grounds. Of the total German-bound cargos, almost all goods are garment items, as Germany is the second largest apparel export destination for Bangladesh after the US, he said. Germany is also the largest air cargo destination for Bangladesh, according to Anam. The average air freight cost from Bangladesh to Germany is $1.85 per kg, he said. Exporters go for the option of air shipment only when strict lead-time is set by international retailers, he said. Most of the samples of garment items are exported and imported via airways to save time. It takes one or two days to send and bring goods by air, while in seaways it takes many days, Anam said. “Air shipment is very expensive,” he said. Of the total goods shipped through airways, 15.86 percent are destined to Germany, Anam said. Exporters have to face a backlog at the airport in Dhaka for the ban. Many times, they had to take back the goods from the Dhaka airport for failing to get the screening done on time, he said. Following the ban, in June, David Mann, a regional security expert of Lufthansa, audited the security measures taken by Biman and Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh. Although Mann expressed satisfaction with the security measures at the airport in Dhaka, Germany did not remove Bangladesh from the list of ‘high-risk’ countries. Bangladesh had the opportunity to object to the ban on direct cargo flight within a month of receiving the notification from the Germany aviation authority. But the government is yet to do so, Anam said. Rashed Khan Menon, minister for civil aviation and tourism, admitted that he did not contact the German authority in this regard yet as he did not receive the notification about the ban from the German side. “I have not contacted with the German authority yet and I do not know whether the civil aviation authority of Bangladesh or Biman Bangladesh Airlines have done so or not,” he added. The embargo on direct air-freight to Germany has led to increased shipment charges for exporters, said Asif Ibrahim, managing director of Newage Garments Limited, which ships apparel items to the European nation. At the same time, this has extended the lead time for sending samples to buyers. “This affects the competitiveness of Bangladeshi exporters,” Ibrahim said, while urging the government to resolve the issue immediately. Bangladesh exported $4.66 billion of garment items to Germany in fiscal 2015-16, up 7.62 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.