The government has taken special initiative to facilitate the transportation of containers from Chittagong, Mongla and Payra ports by inland waterways.
For this an Inland container and bulk terminal will be constructed at Khanpur in Narayanganj near Dhaka.
This will promote regional and sub-regional trade and commerce along the river. The project will be implemented by Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) in June 2023 at a cost of Tk 392 crore.
According to BIWTA sources, the new project will have inland waterway container shipping from Chittagong, Mongla and other ports, capacity building for regional and sub-regional trade, transit and multi-purpose RCC jetty facilities to meet the demand for cargo traffic.
Two lakh cubic meters of land development, general infrastructure, construction of 13,250 meters of port work, 47,820 square meters of cargo terminal infrastructure, containers, cargo handling equipment and two vehicles will be procured. There will also be internal lighting and gas lines.
Narayanganj is an ancient and famous river port on the banks of the Shitalakshya River. It is also known as Dandy of the East for the localization of jute mills here. Currently it is well known for various industries including garments, cement, hosiery industry. There are about 12 to 15 hundred garments factories in the BSCIC industrial city located in Enayetnagar area of Fatullah.
The largest jute mill in the world was at Adamji Narayanganj, which was closed and now Adamji EPZ has been built.
The largest wholesale market for fertilizers is located at Narayanganj. Fatullah is famous for its wholesale market for the country's major salt factories and construction materials.
The main cement factories of the country are located along the banks of the Shitalakshya in Narayanganj Sadar and Sonargaon upazilas.
The history of making jamdani and Muslin cloth in Rupganj and Sonargaon region is a history of four hundred and fifty years. If the project titled “Construction of Inland Container and Bulk Terminal” is implemented at Khanpur in Narayanganj, container and bulk transport system will speed up in the capital and the adjoining areas.
Besides, container transport can start in Narayanganj, Dhaka, Gazipur, Savar, Manikganj, Narsingdi and some other districts of North Bengal.
With the increase in regional and sub-regional trade, container transport will be facilitated in Dhaka, Gazipur, Savar, Manikganj, Narsingdi and other districts of North Bengal through increasing industrialization.
This will encourage new entrepreneurs to set up industries. Besides, transportation of goods by sea will be more economical and environment- friendly than by land.
There will be business centers, income levels and purchasing power of the local people will rise. Air quality is expected to improve due to shifting of freight transport by waterways.
According to the Indian consulting firm feasibility, there is considerable demand for transporting containers and bulk goods through the Narayanganj river port.
According to the study report, if the project is implemented in Khanpur, Narayanganj, the first phase will be suitable for handling 48,000 TEUS containers per year. For the project, a flyover and loop will be constructed to connect Khanpur with Dhaka-Mawa Highway.
Regarding the project, BIWTA Director (Ports and Transport) Kazi Wakil Nawaz said, “Narayanganj near Dhaka plays an important role in expanding trade and commerce. We have decided to implement it first by ourselves (BIWTA) and then with government funding.”
When asked about the shipping of container abroad directly from here, he said it depends on the draft of the water, because if the water depth is low then big ships will not be able to move.
“However, we are going to take steps so that small ships can easily travel from Chittagong”, he said, adding that in future, there will be a plan to take containers directly abroad from Narayanganj.