Govt to accelerate Mongla seaport activities

Hasibul Aman

18 February, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Ministry of Shipping is going to procure essential equipments for Mongla seaport to raise its cargo and container handling capacity.

The ministry plans to spend nearly Tk434 crore to enhance the berthing capacity of the country’s second largest seaport for increasing the volume of export and import through the port.

In this regard, Planning Commission has already processed a project which is likely to be placed at the next meeting of Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec), sources added.

Handling of more than one ship at a time was not possible at the seaport because of poor navigability. It has been a perennial problem since construction of port jetty. 

After a major dredging work, navigability situation has improved in all the five jetties, allowing simultaneous handling of more than one ship.

But due to dearth of supporting equipment the port cannot receive more than two ships for berthing at a time.

The ministry expects the project to be implemented by June 2021, creating scope of exports and imports of new goods.

The government has also undertaken a number of initiatives like development of Dhaka-Mawa-Mongla highway for accelerating the country’s economic activities centering the seaport.

Besides, the port activity is expected to rise manifolds after completion of some key infrastructural projects of the government by 2021.

The projects include Padma Bridge, Khan Zahan Ali Airport, Rampal coal power plant, expansion of Mongla Export Processing Zone (EPZ) and Rooppur Nuke power plant.

In the wake of construction of the Padma Bridge, a scope of easy shipment will be created for export and import of goods from Dhaka and its adjacent districts through the port, especially for the apparel items. 

Moreover, huge demand for the port will be created after the start of transit facility with India, Nepal and Bhutan, official sources said.

“After implementation of the project, more ships will avail berthing facility at the port. It will also help increase the port’s container and cargo handling facility,” said Planning Commission Member Subir Kishore Chowdhruty. 

“At the same time, the initiative will open the window of opportunity for export and import of new goods through the seaport,” he added.

Under the project, three mobile harbors cranes with capacity of handling 14-row containers each, two 30-tonne capacity mobile cranes and two 50-tonne capacity multipurpose cranes will be procured.

Shipping ministry also seeks to collect 10 straddle carriers, two 50-tonne capacity forklift trucks, two 40-tonne capacity variable reach trucks, four five-tonne low mast forklift trucks and road rollers.

Earlier, shipping ministry sent different project proposals to the planning commission to procure mobile harbour crane for gearless container handling in port jetties.

The current project proposal was prepared after the planning commission in a project appraisal meeting on the old project proposal in late 2017 suggested to add essential port equipment in the proposal instead of procuring only mobile crane, the commission sources informed.