Born to ease cargo movement
Established to ease the pressure of cargo movement on the Dhaka-chittagong railway and highway corridors, Pangaon Inland Container Terminal also takes the lead in receiving the first vessel under coastal shipping between India and Bangladesh
The Pangaon Inland Container Terminal is finally winning the hearts of the shipping community. The country’s first inland container facility handled 28,702 teus in FY 2018, up by 140 per cent over FY2017. In terms of tonnage, handling of containers rose 126 per cent to 179,000 tonnes during FY 2017-18.
Situated on the Buriganga River in Dhaka's Keraniganj upazila, the Pangaon Inland Container Terminal was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2013. Built at a cost of Tk 250 crore the terminal’s primary aim is to reduce the load on the Chittagong Port and enable easy transportation of export and import goods along river routes. It has 180-metre-long jetty with 55,000square-metre backup facility to handle export-import cargo containers. The terminal has the capacity to annually handle 116,000 containers. Around 4,500 containers were handled in
2016 which increased to about 20,000 in 2017, but this is still far below the potential of the terminal.
Boosting cargo movement at Pangaon Terminal
A major proposition that makes the terminal attractive is the tariff charged for using the terminal is 50 to 60 per cent lower than that at other ports. To further increase movement of cargo through the terminal the government plans to make it mandatory for part of imported cotton and capital machinery in and around Dhaka to move through the terminal. The government has also slashed various charges at the terminal in the 30-70 per cent range to make it more appealing for the trade. According to the revised tariffs, the charges for moving a 20-foot container using quay-gantry crane have been knocked down by 70 per cent to Tk 300. The harbour crane charge for each move has been halved to Tk 240 from Tk 480. Empty container handling using cranes will come to Tk 180 against Tk 240. The loading and discharging of FCL (Full Container Load) will now cost only Tk 450 as against Tk1,500. The same services for LCL container (Less than Container Load) stand at Tk 1,335, following a 70 per cent cut. Charges for loading and discharging of empty containers stand at Tk 225 against Tk 750. The charges for stuffing and de-stuffing of containers have been cut by 50 per cent to Tk 150. Charges for lift-on and lift-off containers remained unchanged at Tk 600. The storage charges for loaded containers up to seven days stand at Tk 500.
While the slash in charges has appeased the shipping community, but they have also asked for greater frequency of vessels plying between Chittagong Port and the terminal. Currently only one ship moves every three days between the destinations. Expanding the roads and bridges leading to Pangaon Terminal into four lane can further smoothen movement of cargo.
Pioneering Indo-bangla coastal movement
The terminal added another feather to its cap when the first container ship, MV Nou Kollan-1, arrived from Kolkata last year under the Coastal Shipping Agreement between Bangladesh and India. The direct movement of ships between the two countries has reduced the shipping time from 30-40 days to 4-10 days. Highlighting the potential of the terminal Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla said, the terminal can also emerge as an alternative to Ashuganj River Port for transhipment of goods to Northeastern India. It can also decongest the roads and land Custom stations through which most of the bilateral trade has been taking place.