Chittagong Port will be getting a new terminal after 14 years as the construction of the Patenga Container Terminal (PCT) is almost complete.
If all goes according to plan, the PCT will be launched in July this year. Preparations are underway to launch the operations of the terminal.
The new terminal will be able to load and unload containers from three cargo vessels simultaneously. In addition, goods can be unloaded from oil tankers at the Dolphin Jetty.
Rear Admiral M Shahjahan, chairman of Chittagong Port Authority, on Friday noon told The Business Standard that the marine terminal is capable of handling around 5 lakh TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) annually.
At a cost of around Tk3,262 crore, the container terminal has been constructed on an area of 32 acres stretching from Chittagong Dry Dock Ltd to the Boat Club on the west bank of the Karnaphuli River.
Three 600-meter long jetties, along with a 220-meter long Dolphin Jetty, have been constructed under the project.
With the launch of this terminal, the annual container capacity of Chittagong Port will increase by 4,500 TEUs. At present, the main seaport of the country handles around 32 lakh containers.
Some 1,12,000 square meters of the internal yard, as well as a container yard with a volume of 16 acres, have been dedicated for the terminal, where 4,500 TEUs can be kept at a time.
The annual operating cost of Patenga Container Terminal is estimated to be about $8 million.
Rear Admiral M Shahjahan said, "The terminal will be launched in the first week of July. Once opened, the number of jetties for loading and unloading containers at the port will increase to 16. Thus, the waiting period for ships in the outer anchorage will be reduced."
Engineer Mizanur Rahman Sarkar, project director of Patenga Container Terminal, said, "The construction is 95% complete. Due to the terminal's proximity to the estuary, it will be possible to unload ships at Patenga Container Terminal in less time than the main jetty of the port. The three jetties of the terminal will be able to facilitate ships up to 190 meters in length at a time.
Ctg Port launching the terminal on its own
The terminal was supposed to be launched on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) basis, but the Chittagong Port Authority is going to commence operations of the terminal from next July for its own needs, which will later be allocated to private companies.
In the meantime, a number of international organisations have offered to conduct and invest in the operations of the terminal.
These include the Red Sea Gateway Terminal of Saudi Arabia, Apm Terminals-Denmark, DP World of Dubai, Adani Port and Special Economic Zone Limited of India and PSA of Singapore.
In this regard, Rear Admiral Shahjahan told TBS, "Ships that have crane facilities will be moored at this terminal for now and oil tankers will dock at the Dolphin Jetty."
"Although four companies wanted to operate the terminal, none of them has been finalised for selection yet. Whoever gets the job will make the rest of the necessary arrangements, including installation of gantry crane for the terminal," he added.
PCT's backup yard at Laldia Char
Announcing the construction of the multipurpose terminal, the Chittagong Port Authority took over the land a year ago by evicting 2,300 families from 52 acres of land at Laldia Char adjacent to the estuary of the Karnaphuli River.
However, the port authority later changed its decision and chose to build a backup yard for the Patenga Container Terminal on the recovered site.
Omar Faruk, secretary of the Chittagong Port Authority, said, "The Laldia Char Multipurpose Terminal project is no more. The project has been cancelled by the government's Public Private Partnership (PPP) Authority.
"We are now moving towards the implementation of the Bay Terminal project after the Patenga Container Terminal. However, plans are afoot to set up a backup yard for the Patenga Container Terminal at Laldia Char," he added.
On 13 June 2017, the government approved the Patenga Container Terminal project at an estimated cost of Tk1,868 crore. The deadline for implementation was set for December 2019.
Later, the project implementing company applied to the port authority for a budget increase of an additional Tk1,393.41 crore, together with a deadline extension till December this year.
Meanwhile, in March this year, the government approved in principle the "Equip, Operate and Maintenance of Patenga Container Terminal" project to implement terminal operations and maintenance projects under Public-Private Partnership (PPP).