Bangladesh port to get four cranes

Bangladesh port to get four cranes

Bangladesh's Port of Chittagong is buying four dockside gantry cranes from Japan's Sumitomo Corp., in an effort to bring speed and capacity to a gateway that handles 80 percent of the country's seaborne trade.

Port users have complained that lack of equipment and other problems are adding costs and making Bangladesh's exports and imports expensive in the international market.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Shipping admitted in a position paper that corruption, high port costs and high ship turnaround times, low productivity, space and capacity problems were barriers to increasing the country's apparel exports once textile quotas are abolished next year.

As part of a series of plans drafted by the ministry, Chittagong would be allowed to outsource port services, and procedures streamlined to speed the release of cargo.

Chittagong is handling 650,000 TEUs annually against its design capacity of 300,000 TEUs. A new container terminal under development will start operations in 2006.

The new cranes are expected to reduce turnaround time for ships at Chittagong from the present four days.

-- N. Vasuki Rao in Chennai