Thursday, 11 August, 2022

Experimental Operation

First vessel to berth at Patenga terminal Thursday

First vessel to berth at Patenga terminal Thursday
The newly-constructed Patenga Container Terminal in Chattogram is ready for commercial operation. – Sun Photo

CHATTOGRAM: The first vessel will take berth at the newly constructed and much-awaited Patenga Container Terminal (PCT) on Thursday as the Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) opens it on experimental basis. 

The terminal is expected to go into full operation in September this year, said the CPA officials concerned. With this, the country’s major seaport will get a new terminal after 14 years.

Around 96 percent work of the terminal has already been completed and the workers are now busy doing the final tasks, said the officials.

Project Director (PD) Mizanur Rahman told the Daily Sun on Monday that the terminal has an annual capacity of handling 5 lakh Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) containers.

"The yards at the terminal will also accommodate 6,000 TEUs containers," he said.

“Geared and bulk-cargo-laden vessels will be allowed at the terminal until appointment of the operator. The operator will bring equipment later. The shore-based equipment will now be provided by the CPA,” said the PD.

"The matter of appointing the operator is under process at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)," he added.

Mizanur Rahman hoped that after completion of the trial process, the terminal can be placed into full operation within 10 to 15 days.

The project work include construction of three container jetties, a dolphin jetty, workshop, office building, flyover, new road, box culvert over canals, shore protection and retaining walls, CFS shed and relocation of structures.

Bangladesh Army 34 Engineer Construction Brigade is implementing the project.

The government approved the project on June 13 in 2017 for implementation at a cost of Tk 1,868 crore from the port’s own fund. The deadline to complete the work was set for December in 2019.

But a revised DPP was approved on October 5 last year. According to the revised DPP, the project cost was reduced to Tk 1,229 crore after dropping some components, including procurement of equipment for the terminal.

The deadline was extended till June this year in the revised DPP, said the sources familiar with matter.

A memorandum of understanding for implementation of the project was signed with the Bangladesh Army on November 23 in 2017 and the CPA

handed over the project to Army in January 2018.

The Army started the work of the project from February of the year. But the work slowed down as the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

Besides, in March 2021 the government approved in principle the project “Equip, Operate and Maintenance of PCT on PPP Model” to operate the terminal.

Following the initiative, the port authorities will not have to buy equipment separately. It helped lower the project cost by a large extent.

The international firms including Red Sea-Gateway Terminal (RSGT) of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates Dubai Port World (DP World) of the UAE, AdaniPort and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) of India, PSA of Singapore and APM of Denmark, expressed their interest in operating and investing in the terminal, said the CPA sources concerned.

The terminal is being developed on a 26-acre of land near the Chattogram Dry-Dock and Boat Club in Patenga area.

It is expected to create scope for handling three container vessels at a time while there will also have facilities for offloading liquid cargo at a separate dolphin jetty.

There are three terminals at the country's major port – General Cargo Berth, Chattogram Container Terminal (CCC) and New-mooring Container Terminal (NCT).

There are also four dolphin jetties to offload liquid cargoes.

Bangladesh's premier seaport set a record in container, cargo and ship handling in the last fiscal year.

The port achieved 5.1 percent growth in container handling in the fiscal year as It handled 3,255,358 TEUs container, 118,174,160 tonnes of cargo and 4,231 vessels during the period.