Chittagong Port’s performance has improved but if highest efficiency is to be achieved there are more miles to go, said Bangladesh Freight Forwarders’ Association director (port and customs) Khairul Alam Sujan.
Export and import of the country has been increasing each year. In near future, the neighbouring countries are going to use Chattogram port. So, now is the time to get prepared and enhance capacity of Chattogram Port Authority, CPA in short, to overcome all the existing challenges.
Like other sea ports, Chattogram port should also be only terminal operator. The delivery of the chalan (FCL, LCL) of imported goods must be removed from Chattogram port. This would create new space at the port to keep containers of import and export goods containers and would speed up the activities at this port.
In future, from the newly built yard of Bay Container Terminal, if the authority was able to launch direct delivery service of goods it would lessen the pressure on this port, he observed.
‘If we want to fulfil the target of earning $60 billion from the export sector by 2021, CPA need more modern equipments. In 1972-73 fiscal year, Bangladesh’s export volume was of $348 million, with leather goods, jute products and tea being the major items. Now we are exporting more than 700 items in 190 countries, said Sujan.
The country’s 90 per cent of export and import goods pass through Chattogram port. All types of commercial and non-commercial items including raw materials are imported and exported using containers.
The port was suffering from acute container congestion in the past. However, last year the port authorities added many types of equipment to expedite the process of container handling.
For the first time, Chattogram Port Authority introduced rail-mounted gantry crane at Jetty No 5 of New Mooring Container Terminal for loading and unloading container by carrying railway. They also added six rubber-tyred gantry cranes, one log handler, and two mobile cranes spending Tk 96.54 crore.
Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association Director Khairul Alam Sujan told New Age if we could introduce more new technology and equipment in Chittagong port it would be one of the modern ports in the world.
‘Freight forwarding is seen as a backward linkage of a country’s export-import and is globally known as “door to door service”. The freight forwarders from developed countries can provide the door to door service as they are facilitated with running their own warehouses or bonded warehouses. In our country there are no such facilities. For this reason, the prime seaport of the country in Chattogram has been facing containers congestion,’ he observed.
The port’s usual operations have also been hampered. The amount of export-import through Chattogram port has increased robustly, while the capacity of the depots has not increased. The depots are now overloaded with containers, hampering the movement of transports and export-import. So, the government should permit us to run warehouses,’ he argued.
He also hastened to add that the customs formalities would also be run from within the warehouses. If this facility is provided, the door to door service would be introduced automatically.
He further said that security concerns prevailed everywhere. The government has already providing bonded warehouse facilities for some exports. If there was any security concern, the government could ensure strict monitoring. And if it was found that people were misusing the facilities, the authority would ensure punishment. But it is illogical to rob us of the facilities on the ground that there was a security concern. So if CPA gives us 100 acres of land at BCT it would lessen the pressure on private depots,’ argued Khairul Alam Sujan.
On vehicular management he says, ‘Chattogram port is situated in the main city. Everyday nearly 7,000-8,000 goods-laden vehicles go through this port causing huge traffic congestion in the main city especially in the port area which is near Shah Amanat International Airport.’
‘We proposed to CPA to set up a rail line for prime movers in BCT so that prime movers can carry goods from Chattogram port to the newly built yard of BCT for delivery to ease the existing load on Chattogram port,’ he said.
He proposed a structured approach to vehicular movement and said, ‘By using Outer Ring Road at Fouzderhat, these goods-laden vehicles can easily set off for different parts of the country without entering the main city which would also decrease the traffic congestion.’
‘In the world, port never delivers the goods. Due to upcoming transit and transhipment new contracts would be signed between neighbouring countries soon, before additional pressure are exerted on the Chattogram port. Because vessel of those countries would also come to Chattogram port, therefore, CPA needs to get ready for future challenges.’
After 50 years what types of vessel would call at Chattogram port, focusing on that, the CPA should set a plan for construction of new jetties, added Sujan who also told New Age that due political importance should be given to Chattogram port.
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