The under-construction Bay Container Terminal at Patenga is expected to change the face of economy of the country’s south-eastern region.
The Tk 21,000-crore terminal, to be constructed on an 871-acre land of a small island off the Patenga coast, will create opportunity for big ships to deliver containers directly without the help of lighter vessels, said officials.
Port officials are hoping that once the construction of the terminal is completed, there will be no more container-jam at the Chattogram port.
They said ships of bigger length and draft will be directly berthed to unload or load their merchandise at the container terminal, enhancing activities of the country's major port that handles over 90 per cent of the total export and import trade.
Construction of the terminal would generate export-import prospects five times more than the existing Chattogram Port, creating huge employment opportunities as well as enhancing all types of financial transactions, they continued. As part of the project, a four-lane highway is also being constructed from Mirsarai to Bangabandhu Industrial Park, changing the whole scenario of Patenga sea beach.
During a recent visit at the project area it was activities centring the construction of the terminal going on in full swing. Land acquisition process has been completed totally. Construction of boundary wall and site office is going on amidst great enthusiasm. In addition to the acquired 871 acres of land, 1,600 acres of land would be reclaimed from the sea to construct the terminal spending Tk 21,000 crore.
Officials concerned said construction of the main terminal will start soon and it is about to end by 2022. Just beside the terminal, truck terminals and delivery yards will be built.
They said, in size, the Bay Terminal is going to be five times bigger comparing to the present Chattogram Port. Port officials said even with its limitations, the port now stands at 71st in the world list and the second most important in the Bay of Bengal area. Emergence of organisations of regional cooperation like SAARC, BIMSTEC, BCI and increasing dependence of Bhutan and the north-eastern regions of India have presented the Chattogram Port Authority with a huge opportunity.
It has been learnt that for the time, the port authority is bearing the expenses of land acquirement from its own pocket. The hugely expensive project needs foreign investment for which Public-Private Partnership Authority and Investment development Authority are working jointly. Already several countries including Singapore have expressed interest.
Mentionable, at present, ships more than 190 metres long and nine metres deep cannot enter the Chattogram Port. It hampers the export import activities of the country. After the construction of the new terminal, 280 metres long and 12 metres deep ships would be able to enter the port to deliver containers directly.
In this regard, Chattogram Development Authority’s immediate past chairman Abdus Salam told the media that once the huge development plan that has been obtained centring Chattogram is implemented, it will change the economic scenario of the whole area. Construction of Bay terminal, a part of that huge plan, will bring about positive changes in export-import business.