Arvind's $9 mn worth denim fabric stuck up at Indo-Bangladesh border

AHMEDABAD: Denim fabric worth $9 mn from India's largest denim fabric exporter Ahmedabad-headquartered Arvind Ltd is held up at the Petrapole side of Indo-Bangaldesh border since about a fortnight now. Near 3 million metres of denim fabric meant for garments for brands like GAP, Levis and H&M is stuck at the border owing to huge congestions. 
"Situation is grim and worrisome as we are struggling with orders," says Subir Mukherjee, Arvind's head (marketing). Of its 110 million metres of denim produced per annum, Arvind exports near 3 million metres per month to Bangladesh for conversion. Of that, currently over 2.7 million meters worth over $9 million is held up. "Trucks that reported on the Bongaon Municipal Parking, which is 6 kms from border, on May 2-3, are crossing border today (for Bangladesh)," said an Arvind official.
Unlike the past when orders meant for Bangladesh would land at converters' doorstep in 10-12 days from Arvind's factories in Ahmedabad, now takes more than a month. India is currently supplying fabric and garments for Fall Holiday collection for the US and EU markets. While garment makers across garment clusters of North and South India are working on those orders, fabric makers send their fabric to Bangladesh for conversion. The country is one of the biggest converters for India. 
"Delay from (fabric) suppliers would put pressure on the entire chain," explains yet another fabric exporter to Bangladesh. Huge congestion on the Petrapole-Benapole border checkpoint have been reported since September 2011 owing to frequent strikes on either sides, shorter duration of common working hours, frequent EDI failures, huge shortage of manpower, and space constraints at Benapole warehouses for offloading of export cargo, among other issues. 
Although 
Kolkata is just 100 kms from the border, consignments are getting across the border in 15 days owing to the problem. "Buyers now demand that we pay for air freight consignments owing to the delay," says a top exporter exporting over 20 lakh yards of fabric per month. Garments from Bangladesh would be dearer by Rs 100 per kg, while at the retail end, they will be dearer by Rs 60 or $1.