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

Maritime Gateway - - Pangaon Inland Container Terminal -

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.

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