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Patenga Container Terminal construction progressing rapidly

  • Published at 03:24 pm February 5th, 2019
File photo of containers piled up in Chittagong port Dhaka Tribune

According to port officials, 16% of the project has already been completed

Rapid progress is being made with the construction of Patenga Container Terminal (PCT), port officials say.

According to port officials, 16% of the project has already been completed.

The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) undertook the PCT megaproject to handle the ever-increasing annual growth in container and cargo shipping, twelve years after the previous container terminal, the New Mooring Container Terminal (NCT), was built in 2007.

Construction of the PCT was inaugurated on September 8, 2017, by then-Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan.

The CPA is building the 600-metre-long container terminal, with its own funds at a cost of Tk1,868 crore, on 26 acres of land located between Chittagong Dry Dock and the Boat Club in Patenga.

Once the new terminal is completed, berthing will be faster, as vessels will no longer need to cross a lengthy bend on the Karnaphuli channel to reach the port, port officials said.

Md Omar Faruk, secretary of the CPA, told the Dhaka Tribune that the construction work on the container terminal is in full swing.

He said: "So far, 16% of the construction work has been completed. Test piling work on the jetty area is ongoing. The engineering corps of the Bangladesh Army has been selected to execute the project.”

“We are hopeful that we will complete the project within the stipulated time, by the end of 2020," he said.  

"There will also be: a specialized dolphin oil jetty in the terminal for unloading oil, back yards, road and rail links, plus other facilities," the secretary added.

According to the Port Users' Forum (PUF)—a platform of Chittagong Port's stakeholders—newer jetties should be built at regular intervals to handle the current 16-17% growth in cargo and container shipping handling.

The PUF also stressed the need for the project to be completed on time because the infrastructure of the maritime port has not been upgraded for a long time.

Welcoming the construction of a new container terminal, Chairman of PUF Mahbubul Alam told the Dhaka Tribune that the efficiency of Bangladesh’s premier maritime port must be enhanced.

He said: “Chittagong port must address the jetty and equipment crises without delay to face the challenges ahead and cope with the current volume of throughput.”

“Like the Patenga Container Terminal, Chittagong port now requires five more terminals. Construction of a terminal will be of no use if it cannot go into operation,” he said.

Mahbubul, president of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said: "Although Chittagong port has been experiencing 16-17% growth in cargo and container handling for the past few years, no jetty has been constructed in the last 12 years.”

“As a result, vessel congestion persists at Chittagong port in the absence of adequate jetty facilities. The new container terminal will provide an impetus to the port activities, and ease vessel congestion at the outer anchorage of the port." The trade body leader also called for the quick execution of the three megaprojects of the CPA: the Bay Terminal, Laldia Multi-Purpose Terminal, and Karnaphuli Container Terminal (KCT),” he said. 

Deeming the construction of a new container terminal long overdue, noted economist Prof Moinul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune there was no alternative to modernizing Bangladesh’s premier seaport to keep up with the pace of a competitive and challenging world. 

“Chittagong port will not be able to continue to perform alongside other container-handling maritime ports of the world if it cannot reinvent itself by addressing its inadequate jetty facilities,” said Prof Moinul, who is also former president of Bangladesh Economic Association (BEA).  

Around 90% of Bangladesh’s exports and imports are handled by the Chittagong port, located by the estuary of the Karnaphuli river.

According to the 2018 edition of Lloyd's List One Hundred Container Ports, Chittagong Port is the 70th- busiest container port in the world.

The port was ranked: 71st, 76th, 87th, 86th, and 90th in the five previous editions of the list.