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Sunday, October 15, 2017 11:50:06 PM
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Ctg Port needs urgent expansion

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THE number of containers handled at Chittagong Port is growing by 15-22 percent every year, but the Port is running its operations with the same quantity of jetties and yards it had 10 years back. Even worse, the New Mooring Container Terminals (NCTs) built in 2007 cannot run in full swing due to the lack of apparatus. Though the number of jetties has remained the same since 2007 when it handled only 0.9 million units of container annually it has reached  2.4 million in 2016. Since the efficiency of Chittagong Port has not been developed in line with its growth, exporters and importers are incurring huge losses due to the current container vessel congestion. The government and the Port Authority have a huge plan to fully use the capacity of the Port but all remain in paper.
News media reported that exporters are unable to ship their goods on time while long tailbacks to load and unload goods increases the cost of doing business and reduces the competence drastically. Importers are incurring huge losses as overstaying container vessels at the Port demurrage them heavily. Sometimes perishable goods are getting damaged. Businesses asked for a new jetty and yards several times, but the authority did not pay any heed. Everything about building a jetty and yards has been limited to assurance. The government chalked a long-term plan to improve the capacity of the Port but it is still paperwork only, while repair and short time expansion absorb the rush of the economy dominated by imports. Many decisions have been taken to build new infrastructure including Patenga Container Terminal by 2019, Laldia Container Terminal by 2020, and the first phase of Bay terminal by 2021. To incite vivacity in the principal port which handles 92 percent of the country's booming export-import trade, the government should initiate work now taking potential trade growth into consideration.
In the last 45 years, only seven berths have been built for the Port but it should have had 70 berths in this period.  A German company has designed a 30-year master plan for Chittagong Port which was unveiled in 2015 which forecasted if the growth remains constant till 2016 the present structure of goods loading and unloading would be enough at Chittagong Port. But from 2018, the Port will have to deal with more goods than it can with its current capacity. For absorbing the loading and unloading of the thriving import and export construction of three key terminals before 2019 is a must.

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