Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) has said they gave their initial approval to Copenhagen-based port and cargo operator Maersk Group to set up a new container terminal near the country’s main seaport, officials said.
“We (CPA) reviewed the Maersk proposal and gave our initial approval after the Shipping Ministry sought our opinion . . . we now await the shipping ministry decision,” CPA chairman Rear Admiral Mohammad Sohail told BSS.
He said the Danish shipping and logistic giant came up with the proposal to build and operate a new container terminal at Laldia area near the port facility and if the scheme was approved this would be the Chittagong port’s fourth container terminal.
CPA officials said undert the port authority’s oversight the three existing container terminals were now being handled by Saif Powertech, a Bangladeshi enterprise and if approved Maersk Group would be the first operator of a new CPA container terminal.
The CPA comments came a day after Maersk’s Chief Executive Officer Robert Maersk Uggla called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who said Bangladesh would consider the group’s proposal while a national committee was formed to formulate logistic policy for the development of ports.
The CPA chief said a new terminal was needed for the port’s efficient and enhanced operation by increasing its container handling capacity and acknowledged Maersk as one of the world’s largest container handler.
“A new terminal is likely to help increase foreign orders for our readymade garments (RMG). The new terminal will also generate direct employment opportunities,” Sohail added.
During the call on with the premier Uggla said Bangladesh had great potentials in the areas of container shipping and logistic supports and assured her that if allowed to build and operate the new terminal, his company would reflect her vision for a smart Bangladesh.
He also pointed out that the Danish government was very much supportive to the logistic policy while international brands H&M, M&S, Walmart and other big companies were interested to import more RMG products from Bangladesh.
Global ports and terminal operator APM Terminals, a subsidiary of Danish shipping company AP Moller Maersk, submitted the proposal to the shipping ministry in April this year for investing around US$450 million to construct the new terminal at Laldia area of the port.
Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association already welcomed the proposal with its chairman Syed Mohammad Arif saying Maersk Line owned most containers that carry imported and exported goods through Chattogram Port