Dubai-based global terminal operator DP World wants to invest $1 billion in port construction and management, container terminals and the container supply chain infrastructure of Bangladesh.
Focusing on the Chittagong port management and container terminal, the giant company submitted a formal proposal to the government last month, confirmed Shipping Secretary Abdus Samad.
"We need funding to build the Payra Multi-Purpose Terminal, but they proposed to invest in the Chittagong Container Terminal. However, we are on the table for discussion with them," he said.
In its proposal, DP World said it plans to invest in the under-construction Patenga container terminal, operate Kamalapur inland container depot, and modernise and run the New Mooring Container Terminal and the Chittagong Container Terminal. Both the container terminals are located in the Chittagong port.
DP World also wants to form a joint-venture with the government to set up a rail freight operator, and equip, operate and maintain the Bay Terminal.
Aiming to reduce the gradually increasing pressure on the Chittagong seaport, the government has been setting up a new container terminal at Patenga.
Sources at the Shipping Ministry said the terminal is expected to be completed in 2020 after a one-year delay in its construction.
Once the 820-metre terminal starts functioning, it can accommodate three goods-laden big vessels and one oil tanker at a time. Every year, it will be able to handle as many as 4.50 lakh containers.
The engineering corps of the Bangladesh Army has been building the terminal with an estimated cost of around Tk1,475 crore.
Explaining DP World's scope for work, Shipping Secretary Abdus Samad said the Dubai-based company can bid for the terminal maintenance work as the terminal is being constructed by the Army Corps.
The Bay Terminal project
To enhance the capacity of the country's major port that handles over 90 percent of the total export and import, the government decided to build the Bay Container Terminal on a small island off the Patenga coast.
As per the plan, the project, once completed, will create a provision for three cost-effective container terminals. There, ships of bigger length and draft will be directly berthed to load and offload their merchandise without the help of lighter vessels.
At present, the project has achieved no progress but only the acquisition of 68 acres of land out of a total of 2,500 acres.
The terminal will be constructed under the Public Private Partnership basis with an estimated cost of about Tk21,000 crore.
Apart from DP World, six more foreign companies, including Port of Singapore Authority, Red Sea Gateway Terminal Company Limited of Saudi Arabia, Adani Group of India, APM Terminal of Denmark, China Merchant Group and South Korean Hyundai, have expressed their interest to build the terminal.
As of Friday, the government has not selected any company to have the project built.
In its proposal, DP World projected that its investment and technology transfer will drive increased exports, a six-fold growth in foreign direct investment (FDI), an increase in the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the 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.
Founded in 2005 by the merger of the Dubai Ports Authority and the Dubai Ports International, DP World handles more than 70 Million containers brought in by around 70,000 vessels annually.