The decision was taken yesterday at a meeting attended by Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan and officials of the National Board of Revenue and shipping ministry.
“There were some problems, but they have now been solved,” Muhith, who presided over the meeting, told reporters.
It was decided in the meeting that the handling charge at Pangaon ICT would be significantly lowered, said shipping ministry and NBR officials.
The shipping freight from Chittagong to Pangaon will also be slashed by half, and the shipping ministry has already held negotiations with ship-owners in this regard.
The next steps will be taken after Eid-ul-Azha through consultation with stakeholders, said Shipping Secretary Ashok Madav Roy.
As a condition for using Pangaon, many businessmen have asked for the tariff to be lowered as well. Muhith turned it down.
“A different tariff rate for only Pangaon terminal is not possible — there is no such arrangement anywhere in the world.”
The tariff rate is always uniform, he said, adding that the rate is already low.
In 2003, with the view to reducing the cost of carrying goods and easing traffic congestion on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway, the government took the initiative to build the Pangaon ICT.
Due to complexities in land acquisition construction could not begin until 2008.
The terminal, which cost Tk 251 crore, was inaugurated in 2013 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Initially, it was said that importers will have to carry 20 percent of their cotton and capital machinery through the Pangaon terminal. In reality, that has not been the case.
On the whole, the terminal has failed to attract users, which many blamed at the lack of facilities, including a shortage of ships.
Carrying goods through the waterways to Pangaon ICT is expensive compared to the rail and road links, businessmen said.
The Chittagong Port Authority currently handles around 92 percent of Bangladesh’s total maritime trade.
Over 70 percent of the imported goods, mostly bound for Dhaka and Narayanganj, are transported through roads.
Only 12 percent is ferried through the rail links and the rest through river ways, according to CPA.