Sarwaruddin, Ctg Bureau
Govt is mulling to privatise the container handling from Chittagong seaport to Pangaon container terminal at Keriganj, Dhaka and the responsibility of operation of 3 container vessels will also be given to private shipping company.
The decision for privatization of Pangaon Container Terminal(PCT) taken aimed at easy movement of imported consignment laden containers from Chittagong Port thrugh waterways. A reliable port sources s aid the responsibilities of operating the PCT and container movement to Dhaka by waterways assigned to a private mar company named Bengal Lloyds Shipping lines. This private company has already started their activities through setting offices in Dhaka and Chittagong recently.
Mentionable that PCT was built with the own fund of Chittagong Port Authority(CPA). Moreover CPA procured 3 container carrying vessels recently at a cost of about Tk.60 crores for container movement from Chittagong to Dhaka. The total amount involved for this project of PCT and procurement of 3 vessels about Tk.250 cr. The PCT was built at a cost of Tk.190 crore ove 32 acres of land owned by BIWTC at Keranigonj upazila of Dhaka .Reliable port sources said annually about 17 lakh TEUs containers are being handled through CP and 70% of totals belong to Dhaka and other adjoining districts. To resolve the container congestion and quick handling of Dhaka based containers, ICD Kamalapur was built during Jatiya party regime but the Kamalapur ICD could not fulfilled the desired demands of the importers in fullswing lack of timely movement of containers by railway services.
Out of 70 % containers movement, 50% containers dispatched to Dhaka by trucks and covered vans, 9% through container movers and 11% carried by railway services, reliable port sources said. But due to unstable political situation of the country, the movement of containers to Dhaka being interrupted on the way by the picketers either on roads and railway tracks.
With this prevailing context, CPA decided to built Pangaon container terminal in Dhaka for easy waterways movement of imported containers from CPA. In the meantime, CPA issued licenses to 32 private shipping companies to procure container carrier vessels for this purpose.
Failing to procure container carriers by the socalled shipping companies, CPA compelled to procure 3 container carriers at a cost of Tk.60 crores in last year. These procured vessels could not be operated in fullswing despite utmost efforts in last one year. It was hoped earlier that the newly constructed PCT will be able to handle about 3 lakh TEUs containers in a year with its storing capacity of 1.16 lakh TEUs after its full-swing operation. But unfortunately PCT handles only 1200 TEUs containers in last one year which is less than 1% of its total handling capacity. CPA failed to get desired response from the importers to carry their import and e xport consignments through waterways to Dhaka and vice varsa despite multiple endeavor.
Finding no alternatives, CPA has signed a deal with a private shipping company named Bengal . Lloyd Shipping Lines recently for expanding the activities of PCT. As per deal, Bengal Lloyd will maintain the newly procured container vessels for PCT from appointment of manpower to its total management and maintenance . To expand the activities and marketing for PCT, Bengal Lloyd started marketing through opening of marketing office in Dhaka and Ctg recently.
Senior Manager of BL Saila Mahmud confirmed the matter of signing of pact with CPA while contacted.BL sources said as per s chedule of CPA, container carriers will be operated from Chittgong Port to Pangaon CT and vice versa and hoped that they will get desired response from the importers and exporters within short time.