CHATTOGRAM: State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said the Bay Terminal and Matarbari Deep Seaport will be operational by 2026.
The minister said this at a ceremony marking the first berthing of a vessel with a 10-meter draft and 200-metre length at Chattogram port jetty on Monday.
"We had planned to commence operations at Bay Terminal in 2024. However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, that was not possible," he said.
"The construction of the bay terminal will begin after the DPP is finalized. We expect the terminal to be operational by the end of 2025 or early 2026."
“In addition, we plan to launch operations at the Matarbari Deep Seaport at the end of 2026,” he noted.
As a result of the development activities carried out by the present government, the minister said that many organisations are now regretting their decision not to remain beside Bangladesh in the development of the Padma Bridge.
In describing Bangladesh as a role model for development, he said a large vessel's arrival at Chattogram Port marked a significant milestone.
He also praised the United Kingdom for supporting Bangladesh's development.
Developing planned economic zones across the country will attract investors from all over the world, he said.
As the guest of honor, British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson said this day is historic for Bangladesh and Chattogram Port as a 200-meter long ship pulled into the port.
He said the initiative would boost the country's export and import activities.
During the Corona pandemic, 54 employees of the port died, yet the port did not pause its activity for even one day, according to Shipping Secretary Mostafa Kamal.
“To build the Chattogram port as a smart port, we need a smart team,” he stated.
Rear Admiral M Shahjahan, chairman of the CPA, stated that they were still able to hold their position in the three million container club despite the ongoing crises.
“We are fully committed to providing the most effective service to our stakeholders and the country,” he noted.
Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) President Mahbubul Alam said this port never stopped working for even a single day in the last 14 years.
“My hope is that this port will join the four million container club in the near future,” said the business leader.
In the past, the port allowed vessels with a 9.5 metre draft and 189 metre length; after a survey conducted by a foreign company over two years, the port allowed vessels with a 10 metre draft and 200 metre length.
The MV Common Atlas, the first vessel with increased draught and length carrying sugar berthed at the Container Terminal of Chittagong Port on Sunday afternoon.
In addition to carrying more containers and goods, larger vessels will reduce import-export costs. Over the past few years, there has been discussion about allowing vessels with more draught and length at the port jetty to speed up exports and imports.
Following the discussion, the CPA assigned HR Wallingford to study the river Karnaphuli and the port channel. The foreign firm submitted its report to the CPA in September last year after carrying out the study for around two years.
Businesspeople observed that allowing vessels of increased length and draught would lower transportation costs to a great extent.
A vessel of 9.5 meters deep and 190 meters long can carry most containers up to 2,400, while those with larger draughts and lengths can carry over 3,000 containers.
As a result, there will be a reduction in the number of vessels at the port, which will ease the handling of goods even more.