Boost­ing sea trade with Bangladesh

De­scribed as a ma­jor turn­ing point for trade and bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween In­dia and Bangladesh, the Coastal Ship­ping Agree­ment signed by the Prime Min­is­ters of both the coun­tries will en­hance con­nec­tiv­ity and bring about a de­crease in lo­gis­tics costs a

Cargo Talk - - Front Page - ABEER RAY


kind of cargo is ex­pected to be han­dled by both the Chit­tagong and Mongla Ports?

The eco­nomic life­line of Bangladesh is largely de­pen­dent on the Chit­tagong and Mongla Ports. Chit­tagong Port, be­ing largest sea port of the coun­try, cur­rently han­dles about 92 per cent of coun­try’s seaborne trade, while Mongla Port takes a par­tial share. An­nual growth rate of Chit­tagong Port is above 13 per cent, and in 2014 Chit­tagong Port han­dled 1.73 mil­lion TEUs. Both the ports have the fa­cil­i­ties of han­dling bulk cargo, lighter ves­sels and con­tain­ers. As re­gards the Coastal Ship­ping Agree­ment be­tween Bangladesh and In­dia, Bangladesh has taken some steps and ini­tia­tives to cope with the in­creased port op­er­a­tion. The Bangladesh Gov­ern­ment has al­ready un­der­taken var­i­ous projects for en­hanc­ing ca­pac­i­ties of the two ports which would fa­cil­i­tate han­dling of all types of cargo and con­tainer ex­pected to in­crease in the com­ing days.


is the ex­pected re­dis­tri­bu­tion of cargo be­tween the two ports? Would it gen­er­ate ad­di­tional cargo too?

Both Chit­tagong and Mongla Ports have re­stric­tions in terms of draft and lengths of ships. In Chit­tagong Port, the length of a ship is re­stricted to 190 me­tres and draft to 9.5 me­tres, while Mongla Port can han­dle ships of lower draft and length.

With a view to re­duc­ing pres­sure on Chit­tagong, Mongla Port en­joys some spe­cial priv­i­leges for pro­vid­ing ben­e­fits to port users. It is now in the process of en­hanc­ing its to­tal ca­pac­ity as well.


the ports go­ing to serve as tran­ship­ment hubs for In­dian cargo?

Both Chit­tagong and Mongla Ports would pro­vide nec­es­sary fa­cil­i­ties to all con­cerned ac­cord­ing to the Coastal Ship­ping Agree­ment be­tween the two coun­tries. Trans­ship­ment is the choice of im­porters or ex­porters and ship­ping agen­cies as pro­vided by the agree­ment.


much in­crease in trade is ex­pected?

Mul­ti­modal con­nec­tiv­ity plays a vi­tal role in pro­mot­ing trade and com- merce be­tween coun­tries. With the sign­ing of Coastal Ship­ping Agree­ment, I firmly be­lieve that bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween Bangladesh and In­dia would strengthen fur­ther in all ar­eas of co­op­er­a­tion. In re­spect of trade, it is likely to in­crease man­i­fold that can­not be quan­ti­fied at this mo­ment.


new port ‘Payra’ is to be de­vel­oped be­tween Chit­tagong and Mongla. Does the gov­ern­ment plan to de­velop it along the lines of Chit­tagong Port?

The Chit­tagong Port has been han­dling cargo at its op­ti­mum level. Amongst many other chal­lenges, Chit­tagong and Mongla Ports can­not ac­com­mo­date large mod­ern ships mainly due to shal­low draft in the chan­nels. Over the pe­riod, the ex­ports and im­ports of the coun­try have in­creased man­i­fold, but port fa­cil­i­ties have not been de­vel­oped ac­cord­ingly. In or­der to ad­dress these is­sues, the Gov­ern­ment has de­cided to con­struct Payra Deep Sea Port at Rab­n­abad chan­nel in Pat­u­akhali dis­trict in South. This port is ex­pected to con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly in the over­all econ­omy of Bangladesh. It is also ex­pected to lessen the ever in­creas­ing pres­sure on Chit­tagong and Mongla Ports. Ex­perts are of the opin­ion that Payra Deep Sea Port is likely to be­come a pop­u­lar mar­itime hub be­cause of its ex­cel­lent lo­ca­tion and fu­ture po­ten­tial.

Over the years of its func­tion­ing, Chit­tagong Port has al­ready come up as an in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised port. Our Gov­ern­ment has taken a mega pro­ject for con­struct­ing a mod­ern deep sea port at Payra within a short span. So this pro­ject has been in­cluded among eight fast track projects of the coun­try. The pro­ject is be­ing closely mon­i­tored by the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice.

Shafique Alam Me­hdi Sec­re­tary Min­istry of Ship­ping, Gov­ern­ment of Bangladesh

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