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
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