Bangladesh Army enlisted to build new Chittagong terminal

Bangladesh Army enlisted to build new Chittagong terminal

The army of Bangladesh will go from protecting the port of Chittagong to building it.

The army of Bangladesh will help the Chittagong Port Authority construct the Patenga Container Terminal (PCT) so construction will finish more quickly and provide relief to chronic congestion in the harbor.

The engineering core of the Armed Forces Division (AFD) has a history of quickly completing development work, which in this case calls for a 600-meter (1,968.5 feet) long, 26-acre terminal with a depth of 9.5 meters, three jetties, and an annual capacity of 600,000 TEU. The project is to be completed by mid-2019 at a cost of $234.1 million.

“We are engaging the army in quick construction of the terminal. We need capacity to rise immediately,” Chittagong Port Authority chairman Rear Admiral M Khaled Iqbal told JOC.com.

PCT will also have rail lines to ferry containers to and from the terminal, which will be alongside a “Dolphin” jetty of 200 meters for fuel oil shipments. Two of the jetties will have four ship-to-shore gantry cranes for container handling, while the last jetty will be multipurpose and handle container and bulk shipments, Rear Adm Iqbal said.

Relief cannot come soon enough for Chittagong shippers, who although by now are used to regular congestion, have been overwhelmed after a June accident took out half of the port’s ship-to-shore gantry crane capacity and severely worsened already bad congestion.

This has put immense pressure on Bangladesh’s import and export sectors, with vessels having to wait at outer anchorage between 6 and 10 days, generating surcharges for shippers. With garments making up 80 percent of the exports from Bangladesh, higher costs are hurting their competitiveness, shippers said.

Traffic at Chittagong, which handles 92 percent of Bangladesh’s seaborne trade, rose 16 percent year over year in 2016 to 2.3 million TEU, nearly double its designed capacity oof 1.6 million TEU.

Contact Syful Islam at syful-islam@outlook.com.