Amid congestion, Bangladesh ports get $1.2 billion from India

Amid congestion, Bangladesh ports get $1.2 billion from India

Bangladesh is working frantically to add port capacity as regular congestion in Chittagong hurts the country's export trade.

Shippers are encouraged by India on Wednesday announcing $1.2 billion for Bangladeshi ports as they grapple with delays at country’s top port Chittagong ranging between 10 and 15 days waiting time that have lasted since May this year.

Chittagong port’s Bay Terminal will receive $450 million, Mongla port will get $250 million, and under construction Paira seaport will get $750 million from Indian credit line. The money will be used for equipment and terminal construction.  

Bangladesh is searching funds from numerous sources to fund its billions of dollars in port development projects amid growing use of its port by domestic  and foreign shippers Meanwhile, Bangladeshi shippers are being charged extra by vessels owners as they stay long period Chittagong and demurrage by truck operators because their cargo has overstayed time given for storage

Container volume last year jumped 16 percent, to 2.3 million TEU, even though its terminals were built to only handle 1.7 million TEU annually. Chittagon wants to commission the first-phase of Bay multipurpose terminal by 2021.

Vessels having over 190-meter (623 feet) length and depth measuring nearly 12 to 13 meters will be able to take berth in the terminal while presently vessels only with 9-meter depth can anchor in Chittagong port jetties.

The country’s second seaport, Mongla, will expand its yard capacity and buy equipment with the new fund as it is raising its capacity to handle increased volume of goods.

“We sought some $1 billion from Indian third credit line, but got a quarter,” Mongla port chairman Commodore AKM Faruque Hassan told the JOC.com.    

The Mongla port is expecting a surge of cargo in the coming days because neighboring India, Nepal, and Bhutan will start port for their external trade. India mainly wants to transit goods to its seven sister states in the northeast using Bangladeshi ports.

Construction of two new jetties of the port is set to start by early next year, one with Chinese funding and another under public private partnership.

The country’s third seaport Paira, which is now under construction, will use the $750 million toward a multipurpose terminal.  

The terminal will have three jetties and will be able to handle vessels requiring an up 16-meter berth, Paira port member Commodore Saidur Rahman told the JOC.com.

Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Mahbubul Alam said there is no alternative to raise port capacity as Bangladesh’s economy is growing and port has a major stake in that case.

“When economy is growing, port capacity also have to grow at the same pace. In case of Bangladesh it did not happen,” he said.