The Panama-flagged ship Dina Ocean docked at the country's first-ever private jetty of Karnaphuli Dry Dock Limited in Chattogram on 30 March, seven days after it arrived at Chittagong Port.
As per current schedule of the port, it would take at least 22 days for the ship to berth at the Chittagong Port jetty. The docking of the ship 15 days earlier has saved $2.25 lakh for the importer as daily demurrage fee is about $15,000, according to shipping agents.
The ship arrived at the outer anchorage of Chittagong Port from the Japanese port of Chiba on 23 March with 15,000 tonnes of GI scrap, raw material for steel production.
Importers and people concerned said that the first-ever private jetty will reduce the average waiting time of ships in the outer port, which is undoubtedly positive news for the country's economy.
Captain Faridul Alam, deputy conservator of Chittagong Port, said this private jetty is 103 metres long, 30 metres wide and 10 metres in draught. However, there is an opportunity to extend the length by another 30 metres. After expansion, ships can be docked at a length of 190 metres.
Praising the initiative, Amirul Haque, managing director of Seacom Group, said it will be more effective if private jetties are built on both banks, similar to those in our neighbouring and other countries. These initiatives will reduce costs significantly.
Sanjay Kumar Ghosh, Head of Supply Chain Management at BSRM, the country's top steel manufacturing company, said, "Bangladeshi importers have to pay around Tk1,000 crore to foreign shipping companies every year as shipping demurrage. Ships have to wait at the outer harbour for 25 days to dock at the jetty. Amid this situation, the launching of private jetty operations has undoubtedly brought good news for our economy."
Although the import of cargo has increased every year, the capacity of the port has not increased accordingly. However, the situation will improve after the completion of several development projects like Patenga Container Terminal, Bay Terminal and Matarbari Deep Sea Port, he added.
MA Rashid, managing director of Karnaphuli Dry Dock, said, "We have taken the initiative to build a jetty so that ships do not have to stay afloat day after day for docking. In the next 15 days, another jetty will be ready. Two jetties will accommodate 10-12 ships per month."
Md Abdul Mobin, chief executive officer of berth operator Ruhul Amin & Brothers, said the unloading of goods started on Tuesday afternoon and will be completed in the next 5-6 days.
Md Asif Iftekhar Hossain, director of Everett Bangladesh Pvt Ltd, the local shipping agent of Dina Ocean, said, "We had to be accountable to the ship's principals when a ship used to be waiting for 22-23 days, which tarnishes the image of the country. Many ships were even reluctant to come to Chittagong port.
He hoped that the construction of the new private jetty would brighten the image of the country in the international maritime sector.