Insisting on help cope with the challenges ahead, the stakeholders at a view-exchange meeting underscored the need for enhancing capacity building of the country’s premier maritime port.
With an aim to easing export-import activities and keep the port 24/7 operational, Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) organised the meeting with all the port users at its training institute auditorium on Monday.
The discussants at the meeting also urged the CPA to procure necessary equipment, build new jetties and terminals to improve its performance.
Other than the CPA, the customs office, the BSTI, Quarantine Department, banks and other stakeholders also should improve their performance in continuing 24/7 export-import activities, they suggested.
Shipping Secretary Ashok Madhab Roy said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed to work in three shifts to make the extended service a success which she is likely to inaugurate on August 1.
MA Latif MP, a member of the parliamentary standing committee on shipping, said the capacity of the port should be enhanced and the limitations must be overcome.
“We do not want any blame game in this regard,” he said, adding, the CPA managed to procure only 45 handling equipment between 2008 and 2015.
CPA Chairman Rear Admiral M Khaled Iqbal said short, mid- and long-term plans were undertaken to enhance the port’s dynamism and efficiency.
“Against all odds, the growth in container and cargo handling now stands at 16% and 17% respectively. We are ready to take up the challenge of achieving the RMG export target of $ 50 billion by 2021,” said the CPA chief.
He, however, claimed that the productivity of the port dropped a little bit due to Eid vacation, cyclonic storm Mora and two damaged gantry cranes.
“The gearless vessels now have to wait for a maximum of five days while the geared vessels (with container handling equipment like cranes on board) have to wait for a maximum of four days at the outer anchorage. The ordinary vessels have to wait for a maximum of two days,” he stated.
AFM Abdullah Khan, Commissioner of Chittagong Customs House, said that the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has already transferred 94 assistant revenue officers and nine assistant commissioners to help perform the export-import activities around the clock.
The CPA chief chaired the meeting attended by representatives from the BGMEA, BKMEA, different trade bodies, Bangladesh Bank, C & F Agents’ Association and Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association.