The Dubai-based global port operator DP World has submitted an Integrated Logistic Corridor Proposal to the Public Private Partnership Authority to invest $1 billion in Bangladesh's ports and logistics service.
The global port operating giant divided its investment into three parts in the proposal that was submitted in mid-January.
DP World wants to make the lion share of its investment in three container terminal projects in the Chittagong port area.
The company wants to invest $700 million to equip, operate, and maintain Patenga Container Terminal; modernise, operate, and maintain Chittagong port's New Mooring Container Terminal and Chittagong Container Terminal; and to build the Bay Terminal.
It also proposes investing another $100 million in the Kamalapur inland container depot (ICD) and build a new ICD near Dhirasram Railway Station in Gazipur.
The company plans to invest $100 million to form a railway joint venture company and in rolling stocks; and another $100 million in port or ICD-linked economic zones, too.
Md Abul Bashar, the director general of the Public Private Partnership Authority told The Business Standard that the government is evaluating the port operator's investment proposal. "We have asked DP World to submit a specific project proposal within one month so that we can use their investment in at least three-four projects."
In December 2019, DP World submitted a proposal to the shipping ministry when Bangladeshi delegates participated in a meeting organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
DP World and Bangladesh's shipping ministry signed a memorandum of understanding in February 2019. Md Abdus Samad, senior secretary of the shipping ministry, said that there has been no progress in DP World's proposal that was submitted in December 2019.
The government is setting up a new container terminal at Patenga to reduce the gradually increasing pressure on the Chittagong seaport.
After a one-year delay in construction, the terminal is expected to be completed in 2020, said sources at the shipping ministry.
Once the 820-metre terminal becomes operational, it can accommodate three large cargo vessels and one oil tanker at a time. It will be able to handle as many as 4.50 lakh containers every year.
The engineering corps of the Bangladesh Army is building the terminal at an estimated cost of around Tk1,475 crore.
Explaining DP World's scope of work, Abdus Samad said the company could bid for the terminal maintenance contract because the Bangladesh Army is building the terminal.
The Bay Terminal project
The government has also decided to build the Bay Container Terminal on a small island off the Patenga coast to expand the capacity of the country's major port that handles over 90 percent of the total export and import.
As per the plan, the Bay Container Terminal, once completed, will create a provision for three cost-effective container terminals. Ships of bigger length and draft will be berthed there directly to load and offload cargo without the help of lighter vessels.
There has been no progress in this project so far except for the acquisition of 68 acres of land out of a total of 2,500 acres.
The terminal will be built on a public-private partnership basis at an estimated cost of Tk21,000 crore.
Apart from DP World, six more foreign companies, including Port of Singapore Authority, Red Sea Gateway Terminal Company Ltd of Saudi Arabia, Adani Group of India, APM Terminal of Denmark, China Merchant Group, and South Korean Hyundai have expressed interest in building the terminal.
In its proposal, DP World projected that its investment and technology transfer will drive increased exports, a six-fold growth in foreign direct investment, an increase in the contribution of the manufacturing sector to national GDP, rapid job creation and export diversification for Bangladesh.
DP World is a giant terminal operator, having a portfolio of 78 operating marine and inland terminals supported by over 50 related businesses in 40 countries across six continents.