Following government directive, the Chattogram Port Authority is working sincerely to reduce the cost and time of doing business, executing a number of initiatives whose benefits are becoming visible in recent days, said port sources. As an outcome of some effective initiatives taken up and implemented by the government of late, the capacity of Chattogram Port has increased immensely over the last one year.
The addition of new cranes and other equipment to accelerate the terminal operations has played a vital role in enhancing the port’s efficiency and capacity.
The port authorities said at present container vessels do not have to pay any charge for waiting outside the court as the issue of port congestion has already been resolved, even before the completion of construction of the $87.5m mega-container yard which is supposed to increase the port’s storage capacity by tenfold.
Earlier, the port has a free time of four days. If the cargo is not delivered by the time, the importer then has to pay the handling cost which depends on how many days the importer takes to complete delivery. As part of the initiatives, the port authority has increased the free time from four days to seven days while 36 hours have been fixed for completion of handling of export-containers.
Initiative has been taken to reduce the handling cost of import-containers also. At present, according to the World Bank, a container handling cost for whole Bangladesh is $ 298. The port authority has taken an initiative to bring down the cost to $ 198-200, equivalent to the cost of neighbouring India’s ports.
Port Chairman Rear Admiral Zulfiqar Aziz said, "We are monitoring how many containers are coming from a ship."
“Earlier, a vessel with the capacity of carrying 2000 containers, used to bring 33-35 percent of its capacity. We have decided to make it mandatory for the vessel to bring at least 60 percent of its capacity,” he added. Informing that the port authorities have undertaken various initiatives to reduce the cost and time of doing business, Chattogram Port Authority Member (Administration and Planning) Zafar Alam claimed to the Bangladesh Post that outcome of the initiatives are already being visible.
“Earlier a container vessel waiting outside the port had to pay $10,000 for a day. Now they don’t have to pay that charge as they don’t have to wait outside the port at all. It is sign that the port capacity has increased,” he said, adding this is an outcome of the initiatives. Now, he said, along with the port authorities other stakeholders will also be motivated due to the reduced cost.