Dhaka : Close on the heels of India calling upon Bangladesh to use its Kolkata and Haldia ports for transhipment purposes – which would make coastal shipping more cost effective and time saving, and create an opportunity for Bangladeshi garment exporters to reach European and American markets faster by avoiding congestion at the Chittagong Port – recent media reports claims that Bangladesh is non-committal yet, about using the Indian ports.
The move reportedly is following the increasing capacities of Bangladesh’s Chittagong and Mongla ports.
Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) is reportedly constructing several terminals to enhance its capacity where the Bay Terminal alone will have 13 jetties, which will improve cargo-handling capability significantly. Also to be taken into account is the fast progressing construction of Patenga Container Terminal (PCT), with a 250,000-TEU annual capacity. On the other hand, projects are underway to enhance the Mongla Port’s capacity, including Pangaon Inland Container Terminal (PICT), while construction of the country’s third seaport at Payra is about to start, with the dredging of its main channel.
“We shall take opinions of business community, port authorities and other stakeholders. If the stakeholders recommend this, we will discuss on this proposal,” underlined Shipping Secretary Abdus Samad while speaking to the media on whether to use the Indian ports.
As per experts, majority of Bangladeshi garment factories are concentrated in and around Dhaka and goods are transported by road to Chittagong port from where it is shipped via Colombo or Singapore to Europe and USA.
However, the alleged 10-12 days waiting period at Chittagong makes logistics costly and time consuming. While on the other hand if the exporters can send their products from Pangaon to Haldia to be loaded in Colombo or Singapore-bound ships, the whole process will reportedly be completed in three to four days.