Originally published in The Daily Star on 17 January 2023
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury yesterday hoped for a part of the Chattogram port’s Bay Terminal to become operational from early 2026 while the Matarbari deep-sea port either from the middle or end of that year.
He also hoped for the Chattogram port’s Patenga Container Terminal to be operational very soon as around 97 per cent of its construction was complete.
He was addressing as chief guest a ceremony marking the first time a Chattogram port jetty has been able to accommodate a 200-metre vessel with a 10-metre draught.
The vessel, MV Common Atlas, berthed at jetty no 1 of Chittagong Container Terminal (CCT) on Sunday afternoon.
Addressing as a guest, Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Mahbubul Alam requested that the state minister inform about the progress attained in the three ongoing projects.
Referring to his request, the state minister said he had earlier announced that the Bay Terminal would become operational by 2024.
“Unfortunately, within a year of our government coming to power in 2019, the global pandemic started and the first two years were lost from our lives. And then another global disaster of Russia-Ukraine war has appeared,” he said.
“But I want to say that we are not sitting idle, rather we are progressing with our capacity,” he said.
The government had initially decided to construct the 3,500-metre-long Bay Terminal under a public-private partnership, said Chowdhury.
Later, in line with a proposal of the business community, the project was divided and a decision was taken for Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) to construct a multipurpose terminal on a major portion of the Bay Terminal, he said.
The proposal for that multipurpose terminal is now in the making and it could start running operations by early 2026, said the state minister.
Work on the deep-sea port is ongoing, said Chowdhury.
The Chattogram port is the heart of country’s economy, not closing for a single day in the last 14 years while its capacity and efficiency was upgraded, he said.
Berthing of the bigger vessel at the port was a matter of joy and pride , he said.
The CPA raised its permissible draught limit to up to 10 metres from a previous limit of 9.5 metres upon recommendation from a British consultant firm, HR Wallingford, appointed by the port in November 2020 to study navigation at the port.
British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson, Shipping Secretary Md Mostafa Kamal, Dr Manzur Haque, executive chairman of Interport BD, the local agent of HR Wallingford; and Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association Chairman Syed Mohammad Arif also spoke at the ceremony chaired by CPA Chairman Rear Admiral Mohammad Shahjahan.