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Bangladesh Welcome Major Port Operators For First Time As Chaos Grows

SDI Logistics Co.,Ltd | Updated: Aug 17, 2017

 BANGLADESH will open its seaports to global port operators for the first time in the face on chaotic dock operations which threaten the flow of the nation's vital exports upon which the country depends. 

The country's export-import activities are facing severe blow as feeder vessel operators have imposed additional surcharges as congestion in Chittagong mounts.

The country now aims to increase port capacity, according to Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) chairman Rear Admiral M Khaled Iqbal, reports Dhaka's Financial Express.

Under a new landlord port arrangement, international firms will design, build, finance, operate and maintain new port terminals. The country's biggest port, Chittagong, will withdraw from dock management and become a landlord.

Chittagong port handles 92 per cent of the country's total import and exports, with cargo worth around US$77 billion annually, said Adm Iqbal.

He hopes that engaging globally established firms in the construction, operation and maintenance of new terminals will help reduce the port's turnover period and increase handling capacity.

Currently a privately owned local firm is involved in the operation of a small container terminal owned by the CPA.

Bangladesh's economic growth has exceeded six per cent over the past several years, and container traffic at CPA has risen in tandem, reaching 2.4 million TEU in 2016.

The port's total container handling capacity is 2.64 million TEU per year, which is set to be saturated by 2019 if the increasing trend of container volume continues, according to Mohammad Zafar Alam, an official in administration and planning for CPA.

Chittagong port witnessed around 16-17 per cent growth in cargo and container handling over for the past few years, but no new terminals have been constructed, resulting in congestion at the port.

But dock chaos is serious. Operators have limited the number of their voyages to the port, industry people said.

A West African shipping company has informed the local counterparts that until the situation in Chittagong port returns to normal, it has no other choice but to restrict number of its trips to this destination.

"We, therefore, regret to say that we can't accept any more bookings to Chittagong from West Africa for the time-being," the company said.

Feeder vessel operators bound for Chittagong from Australia, Singapore and Colombo ports have imposed additional surcharge following the ongoing congestion in Chittagong port.

ANL, an Australian shipping company that is also a part of the CMA CGM Group, the third largest container shipping line in the world, has imposed Port Congestion Surcharge (PCS) of $150 per TEU for all imports into Chittagong where congestion is reaching a "critical level" there.