After taking the chair of the chairman, my target was to turn the Chattogram port into an international standard institution and we have been working to meet the target, said Rear Admiral Zulfiqur Aziz, the new chairman of Chattogram Port Authority.
He attributes the current level of success to overall coordination and reinforcement the port received in terms of new equipment.
‘Credit goes to all the stakeholders. Through their coordination, Chattogram Port Authority, CPA in short, was able to improve its overall services compared to the previous years.’
The chairman sounded confident when he said, ‘We are hopeful that we will complete the ongoing Patenga Container Terminal project within the stipulated time — by the end of 2020.’
‘At present there are 16 jetties in the port — they are divided into cargo jetty and container jetty. So, by the end of 2020 we would get new jetties — 13 from Bay Container Terminal and four from PCT,’ he said.
‘We are focused on ‘productivity approach’ — a ship has the capacity to carry 2000 containers but it used to bring 600, 700 or 1100 containers which is not possible now after we have set a regulation that 50 per cent of any vessel needed to be filled with containers, He said.
‘So, to end container congestions and yard congestion we said if any ship brings less than 50 per cent of its capacity, we would not entertain the ship with our services. Because, if five more ships enter the port, it only creates congestion and by strictly monitoring the ships we have been able to decrease the number of ships at the port,’ he added.
Zulfiqur Aziz furether pointed out that earlier, ships used to be loaded and unloaded using the facilities attached to the ships themselves. The three recently acquired gantry cranes now allowed the authority to complete loading and unloading within 48 hours.
‘At present, on an average, a ship stays for about 2.1 days or less than that for loading and unloading of goods, which used to take at least three days before we installed the cranes,’ he said.
The chairman added that the recent change of CPA is the combination of capacity maximisation, utilisation of more equipment, productivity approach, emphasising IT alongside constant monitoring.
‘I believe in feedback. Suppose I gave an instruction, my duty is to monitor whether my instruction was carried out or not. We monitor the equipment status, ship status as well as berthing and we also analyse the data and take new decisions,’ the chairman said.
A set of measures taken by the port authority in association with its stakeholders improved the performance in the containerised cargo handling from the end of the year 2018, he observed.
The port is now set to make new record in all three segments — containerised cargo handling, total volume of cargo in tonnage and arrival of ships in the port, according to the chairman of the port authority.
In the year 2018, the port authority installed many sophisticated cargo handling equipment including six shore-to-ship gantry cranes.
The CPA also kept the operational wheel moving round the clock in the port following the demand from the businesses and instructions from the government.
Aziz further said that of the newly bought six QGCs, five were installed in the new mooring container terminal.
At one jetty, three cranes were now handling containers and the jetty waited evaluation by the authority whether they were responsible for the increase in productivity or not,’ he continued.
‘But we need more equipment, as the port sees nearly 12 per cent growth every year and new terminals are also under construction,’ observed Zulfiqur Aziz.
The port had to suffer from container and vessel congestions in the previous years. The situation gradually improved after the installation of six gantry cranes in the middle of 2018.
Earlier, businessmen suffered a lot due to severe shortage of lightering vessels and quay gantry cranes in the container terminals.
CPA chairman said that the port handled the highest ever 2,903,996 twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, of containers in 2018 against 2,667,203 TEUs in 2017, registering a growth rate of 8.8896.
The total volume of cargo handling of CPA in 2018 was 96.311.224 million tones at the overall growth of cargo handling stands at nearly 13 per cent. As many as 3, 747 vessels arrived in the country’s prime seaport in the year 2018.
Port sources further stated that 265, 126 TEUs of import and export handled in November 2018 was the highest ever in the port’s history. The highest volume of containers was handled in the port in July 2018 and the number of containers handled was 259, 210 TEUs.
Port stakeholders expressed their satisfaction and said that the performance of CPA reached a satisfactory level since the middle of 2018 due to practical steps taken by CPA.
CPA chairman rear admiral Zulfiqur Aziz said that CPA has improved a lot in all sectors in 2018.
It counted 8.88 per cent growth in container handling, 12.98 per cent growth in cargo handling, 3,747 ships called at the port and the growth rate was 11.19 per cent, he pointed out.
The port will furthur improve its performance in the coming days as the port authority has started implementing a number of projects to enhance its berthing and other facilities are being constructed, he added.
‘There is no ship congestion due to the new additions — six gantry cranes, increase in yard spcace. As a result goods-laden ships left the port swiftly by unloading goods in outer anchorage, thereby increasing the percentage of mother vessels arrival,’ he observed.
Earlier The purchase process for the 10 gantry cranes began when a New Mooring Container Terminal project was taken up a decade ago.
There are other terminals on the pipeline. He said that the construction work of Bay Container Terminal, would begin soon as the problem relating to land acquisition was resolved.
The offshore terminal would be constructed on about 2,500 acres of land — 803.170 acres of government land, 68 acres of private land and 1,600 acres of land reclaimed by filling the sea.
Chattogram district administration would inform CPA about the amount of acquisition money and CPA would pay, he let New Age know.
‘Already CPA started setting up the boundary wall. The existing yard of Chattogram port needs to be enhanced to handle more loads. So, one part of bay terminal would be used as the extension yard Chattogram port.’
The customs activity which is at present going on in Chattogram port would be done in the bay terminal and it would lessen the pressure on Chattogram port. As a result each ship would be able to complete its work by 24 hours, on an average, instead of 2.1 days, Zulfiqur Aziz argued.
Construction work of jetty would be completed gradually. The terminal would be constructed in the Bay of Bengal, off the Patenga coast, in the city’s Halishahar Ananda Bazar area, near the Chattogram Port and Chattogram Export Processing Zone, at an estimated cost of Tk 17, 500 crore, he revealed.
The bay terminal will have facilities for 50 ships to berth at a time while only four ships can berth at the port at a time, at present, he said.
There would be three terminals — 1,500-metre multipurpose terminal, 1,225-metre container terminal and another 830-metre container terminal. The bay terminal would have 13 jetties, two dolphin jetties — one for handling coal and the other for handling cement clinkers.
The chairman further said that vessels of more than 190 metres in length and up to 13 metres in depth would be able to berth at the new terminal. By the end of 2020 partial yard and truck terminal of BCT would be completed.
Construction of four more jetties are ongoing under Patenga Container Terminal. Following its completion three container jetties and one dolphin jetty would be added.
CPA undertook the PCT megaproject to handle the ever-increasing annual growth in container and cargo shipping. CPA is building the 600-metre-long container terminal, with its own funds at a cost of Tk 1,868 crore, on 26 acres of land located between Chattogram Dry Dock and the Boat Club in Patenga. Once the new terminal is completed, berthing will be faster, as vessels will no longer need to cross a lengthy bend on the Karnaphuli channel to reach the port. So far, 16 percent of the construction work has been completed. Test piling work on the jetty area is ongoing.
‘We are hopeful that we will complete the project within the stipulated time, by the end of 2020,’ said the chairman.
In addition to the existing 16 jetties, by the end of 2020 we would get more new jetties — 13 from BCT and four from PCT, he confirmed.
To handle bulk cargo and to reduce chronic congestion, CPA is going to construct the multipurpose Laldia Bulk terminal to enhance the port’s capacity. This is the port’s first public-private partnership project.
The terminal would have four jetties — two for container vessels and two for bulk cargo carriers.
Five qualifying international firms have been shortlisted from six that contested to take up the project. Already request for proposal for the project was received and, at present, the five companies are set to send the offer to CPA.
The chairman wished that the terminal started operations by 2022.
The terminal would be constructed at a cost of Tk 3000 crore on 52 acres of land at Laldia at the estuary of the river Karnaphuli between khal no 14 and 15. Nearly 200-metre long vessels with drafts of 10 metres would be the Laldia bulk terminal, which would have the capacity for 1.12 million TEUs along its 900-metre long quay and three berths.
CPA chief told New Age, ‘On Tuesday HSBC high officials visited CPA. They would provide loans to different companies interested to invest in Bangladesh.
‘I have a reserve capacity to export more $30 billion which is a huge opportunity. Now we are exporting $41 billion. Among them $30 billion are garments,’ he added.
CPA handled nearly 3 million TEUs container in the year 2018. Among them 1.5 million TEUs were export and 1.5 million TEUs were import. Among the 1.5 TEUs exports half which were 0.75 million TEUs were full and 0.75 million TEUs were empty. By the full 0.75 million TEUs we exported worth of $41 billion.
‘So, by the 0.75 million TEUs empty portion we would easily export more $30 billion. This is the reserve capacity of Chattogram port. Foreigners are still unaware of the potential and strength of the Chattogram port.
There are many challenges which we would also have to face by 2025 as well as beyond 2025. Cruise ships would call at this port and mining port would also be needed in future. By few years the CPA would be under automation system, he said.
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