Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Chairman Rear Admiral M Khaled Iqbal on Sunday embarked on an overseas tour for gaining experience on port operations. It is entirely normal behaviour from the head of such establishment to visit similar facilities in other countries to use the experience in order to benefit their own facilities. But Rear Admiral Iqbal’s eight-day tour is being heavily criticized because he was issued a transfer order two weeks ago, and his successor will assume office after January 30.
The government issued a circular on January 2, appointing Julfiquer Aziz as the new CPA chairman.
Rear Admiral Iqbal is supposed to attend his office on January 25, and he will have less than five working days to execute anything he gleamed during the trip. This is why many CPA stakeholders are grumbling.
Former CPA member Hadi Hossain said: “The CPA chairman has only a few days left to work. This tour is more about sightseeing than doing anything to benefit the port.”
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He said that employees directly related with port operations should instead be sent on such tours so that they could implement their experience after returning.
The CPA chairman refused to make any comments when he was contacted on Sunday morning.
CPA Secretary Md Omar Faruk, who is also part of the delegation, told the Dhaka Tribune: “The 10-day-tour is an official visit. It is completely normal.”
The 15-member delegation is visiting the port of Cape Town in South Africa and Tanger Med in Morocco. The delegation also comprises members of Parliamentary Standing Committee for Shipping Ministry, and officials from the Shipping ministry and CPA, including Minister of Shipping Shajahan Khan.
There is also great criticism about the ports selected for visit. According to Lloyd’s List – a leading global journal on shipping – Chittagong port ranks 71st busiest among the top 100 container ports in terms of annual quantity in 2016, while Tanger Med is just 51st, and Cape Town is not even in the top 100.