A lack of necessary infrastructure and other facilities has been barring businessmen to utilise the full potentials of the Noapara River port in Jashore.
Started in May 2017 on the bank of the Bhairab River, the port has been transformed into a busy hub of business.
According to officials at the port, the port received more than 8 lakh tonnes of goods imported by 1,500 vessels in 2018-19.
But businessmen complained that though the government is collecting a good amount of revenue from the port, it lacks the facilities that a modern port should have.
"We are facing severe problems every day due to the lack of a staircase required for lifting goods and the lack of parking yard for cargos," said Aditya Majumdar, a businessman.
"We are also building the ferries ourselves. We are only paying taxes but not getting any benefits," he added.
Echoing Aditya another businessman named Shah Jalal Hossain said, "We are paying taxes but there is no development of the port."
Many factories of jute, fertiliser, cement and rice, as well as power plants, have been set up on 51.55 acres of land on the banks of the Bhairab.
"The authorities concerned should extend the port area by dredging the river further to attract the traders in Jashore to use it," said former president of Jashore Chamber of Commerce Mizanur Rahman Khan.
Although revenue increased over time – currently Tk4 crore per year – the development work of the port did not progress sufficiently.
A development project worth Tk200 crore of the Asian Development Bank has been stopped due to a lack of understanding between the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority and the Noapara Municipality.
After a recent dredging project costing Tk44 crore, import of goods through cargo ships has increased in the port, but the problem of navigation persists.
Noapara Port official Masud Parvez said, "Dredging in 37 kilometres area of the port is underway. More ships would be able to travel from the port."
According to the businessmen, fertilisers, grains and cement businesses expanded in Noapara in the early 1990s due to good communication system on roads, railways and rivers.
And thus, it became one of the largest marketing hubs in the country.
A large number of goods have been brought to Noapara port through the river from Chattogram and Mongla ports.
Besides, most of the goods imported from India by land is brought in rail wagons to Noapara via Darshana land port. These goods are transported to different parts of the country by road and riverways.