Record arrival of foreign ships at port In December
Once a sleeping port, Mongla is now a vital part of Bangladesh's economic infrastructure.
In fact, with the anchoring of the 117th foreign vessel on New Year's Eve, Mongla port touched a milestone in the monthly statistics of handling shipments in the past 70 years, surpassing all its previous records.
A Panama-flagged ship, "MV Wanda," anchored at the port's Mooring Bay No 10 on Thursday night. The ship had left the port of Georges Lasfar in Morocco with fertilisers for unloading at Mongla on November 23.
With the arrival of MV Wanda, the port surpassed its previous record of foreign vessel handling at 106 in November 2020.
Harbour Master of Mongla Port, Commander Sheikh Fokor Uddin said that the recent dredging on the tidal estuary of the Bay of Bengal turned the corner of navigability at the port.
He said: "Not only that, the increasing modern facilities at the port have been prompting more foreign vessels to anchor at Mongla."
Statistics show that the number of ships arriving at the port has been increasing with each passing year, the Harbour Master said. "In 2014-15 fiscal, some 416 ships had docked at the port. The figure rose to 482 in 2015-16. In the next financial year, some 624 vessels had arrived while the number was 784 in 2017-18. In 2018-19, the number stood 912."
"In the current fiscal, we hope the figure will exceed 1,000," Commander Sheikh added.
The foreign vessels that docked at the port last year included container carriers, car carriers, coal carriers, urea fertiliser suppliers. The foreign vessels also carried a nuclear reactor with other equipment, goods of power plants and railway cargo, cement clinker and LPG.
This gradual growth in shipments is boosting activity around the export zone. New industries are coming up, creating more job opportunities, according to officials.
Chairman of the Mongla Port Authority, Rear Admiral M Shahjahan said: "The navigability crisis at the port is over. Ships with 9.5 metres drafting are now being able to anchor at the port comfortably. We hope Mongla port will be able to handle over 1,000 ships this fiscal."
The seaport that once faced closure, is now keeping pace with Chittagong, the largest seaport of Bangladesh. And the facilities offered by the port are now harmonious with other export zones.
Moreover, an agreement signed with a Chinese company for Inner bar dredging on December 30, will come into effect from this month. Once complete, it will pave the way for the port to become an apt alternative to Chittagong port.