Stakeholders stress on enhancing port’s jetty facilities
The much-talked-about transshipment of Indian goods to the country’s north-eastern states through Bangladesh waters is all set to begin in 24 hours.
Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Secretary Md Omar Faruk told the Dhaka Tribune that the Indian vessel named “MV Shejyoti,” carrying a total of 221 containers will arrive at the outer anchorage of Chittagong port around 8am on Tuesday.
“Of the 221 containers, four carrying iron will be shipped to Tripura and Assam of India through the Akhaura-Agartala land port. The rest of the containers are of Bangladeshi importers,” said the CPA secretary, adding, “Chittagong port will definitely benefit from the transshipment through tariffs. More importantly, the whole country will reap benefits from this move.”
“With the construction of newer container terminals, our container handling capacity will be enhanced to a great extent and we will be able to ensure smooth operations of the seaport. With the enhanced container handling capacity, our ranking in the world will go up further,” the CPA secretary added.
Welcoming the transshipment, the business people of the premier port city underscored the need for enhancing jetty facilities of the maritime port to cope with the increased container throughput.
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Ahsanul Huq Chowdhury, chairman of Bangladesh Shipping Agents’ Association (BSAA) said that there is no alternative to enhancing jetty facilities to ensure smooth operations of the port.
“Currently, the port is not facing any operational problems due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But the port will witness heavy traffic as soon as the situation returns to normal.”
“According to the deal, Indian ships will get priority in terms of goods loading and unloading. Now if we do not enhance our jetty facilities, the other vessels will suffer,” he added.
Contacted, AM Mahbub Chowdhury, vice president of Chittagong Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CMCCI) said that the overall economy of the country will get a boost due to the transshipment of goods between the two neighbouring countries.
“But the port should speed up its ongoing container terminal projects to enhance its efficiency and productivity,” he added.
Echoing the same, Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, general secretary of Chittagong Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association, said that the transshipment will give an impetus to the economic activities of the country.
“The revenue earned from the transshipment should be spent on improving our road network. Besides, the port should complete the ongoing container terminal construction projects very quickly,” he suggested.
Earlier in 2015, Bangladesh and India inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the use of the Chittagong and Mongla ports by the latter.
Dhaka and Delhi signed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in October 2018, to fix the modality of the transshipment of goods through the routes.