The capacity of Mongla seaport is expanding. Modern equipment for cargo handling is being procured, navigability problems are being resolved and several other projects have been implemented to develop the port further. Importers and exporters are turning more and more towards this seaport, the second largest in the country. As a result, the port saw a 28 per cent increase in revenue over the last two fiscal years.
A top-heavy administration, inefficient management, pilferage, waste, negligence by subsequent governments and drastic fall in navigability, were deterrents to vessels using this port. The once booming port began counting losses.
From fiscal 2003-04 to 2007-08 Mongla port’s losses stood at Tk 38 crore 52 lakh. And the number of vessels coming to the port fell from 170 to 95.
After the present government came to power, from 2009 various development measures were taken to render the port active and operational. An estimated Tk 106 crore 51 lakh was spent on capital dredging of the Pasur river. A total of 35.11 lakh cubic metres of silt was removed from the riverbed. The project began in September 2013 and ended in December 2015.
At the beginning of this year the Mongla port authorities procured two new dredgers which work round the clock. This has facilitated easier movement of vessels. Other modern machinery has also been purchased for the efficient and safe handling of cargo. Two car parking yards have been set up at the port for imported vehicles. Plans for two new jetties are in the pipeline. The Mongla port authorities also recently signed a Tk 4000 crore mega project deal with China.
According to Mongla port’s traffic department, in fiscal 2009-10 the number of vessels arriving at this port was only 190. In 2015-16 this has increased to 636. In this span of time, the volume of import and export goods at this port increased from 16 lakh 49 thousand metric tonnes to 57 lakh 97 thousand metric tonnes. In 2009-10 cars imported through this port stood at 3847. In 2015-16 this was 14,969. Container handling in this period went up from 20,651 to 41,953.
Khulna Chamber of Commerce and Industries president Kazi Aminul Huq told Prothom Alo, investors were setting up new industries in Mongla EPZ because of the improvements in the port.