The government has primarily selected two foreign companies for implementing the Bay Container Terminal project although the Chattogram Port Authority expressed interest in implementing the project using its own funds.
Shipping ministry joint secretary Md Rafiqul Islam Khan told New Age recently that they nominated the Port Authority of Singapore-PSA and the Red Sea Gateway Terminal of Saudi Arabia to implement the project.
After negotiation, a contract with one of these companies will be signed following the government-to-government policy through public-private partnership, he said.
The Chattogram Port Authority, meanwhile, sent a letter to the shipping ministry expressing its interest in implementing the project.
The joint secretary of the ministry said that they received the letter of the port authority after the primary selection of the two foreign firms and added that things were still in their initial stage.
He further said that following a new feasibility study report we would be able to determine how much work an organisation will do on the bay terminal project and what the duration of the contract would be.
The new feasibility study has started, but it has been delayed due to the prevalence of COVID-19.
Chattogram Port Authority executive engineer Rafiul Alam, who is also the focal person of the Bay Container Terminal project said that they were yet to receive any response to the letter they had sent to the ministry.
He said that with the funds available to the port authority, they can build the terminal in phases. It may be built following the same process as other port projects.
Rafiul said that though the port authority has about Tk 10,000 crore of idle money, the government is nominating two foreign companies for the work.
Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Mahbubul Alam said that for the last few years they had been urging the government to ensure speedy implementation of the bay terminal project.
The government needs to complete the project as soon as possible, otherwise we would face unexpected hurdles in meeting the $50 billion export target by 2021, said the business leader.
On November 1, 2016, as a priority project of the government, prime minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the Bay Container Terminal construction project on the sea coast of Patenga Halishahar area, six kilometers from the Chittagong port.
A preliminary study of the project estimated its implementing cost at $200 million.
There will be three terminals — 1,500-metre multipurpose terminal, 1,225-metre container terminal and 830-metre container terminal-2.
The terminal will have two dolphin jetties — one for handling coal to be imported for coal-fired plants in Bangladesh and the other for handling cement clinkers.
At present, large ships with a depth of 9.5 metres and a length of 190 metres cannot enter Chattogram port but the new terminal will be able to accommodate ships up to 12 metres deep and 280 metres long. There would be no need to rely on the tides to anchor ships.
Apart from 871 acres of private and government land, the terminal is expected to be built on 2,500 acres, including another 1,600 acres reclaimed from the sea.
In 2016, the HPC Hamburg Port Consulting and the KS Consultants Limited of Bangladesh jointly conducted a feasibility study under the leadership of the German company Shell Horn.
The survey report said that the project would be implemented with its funds. Later, the government changed its decision and opted for public-private partnership.
According to the preliminary survey, the project is expected to complete by 2021.
The bay terminal is about eight times the current operational area of the Chittagong port. Once the terminal is built, it will be possible to berth ships with a carrying capacity of 5,000 containers.
The terminal project already got no-objection certificate from 15 agencies concerned, including the Department of Environment, Chittagong Development Authority, Chittagong City Corporation, Fire Services, Chittagong WASA, Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Ltd and Bangladesh Police.
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