Land development of Bay Terminal starts

Land development work of Bay Container Terminal BCT at Chattogram Port, commonly known as Bay Terminal, has started aimed at starting partial operation within 2022-2023.

The much-awaited Bay Terminal, a fast-track project of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, at an approximate cost of Tk 18000 crore had faced some complexity regarding land acquisition, but as the complication eroded, the Chattogram Port Authority with support of the Bangladesh Navy, has begun land development of the project.

In 2016, an initiative was undertaken by the Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) to construct a modern port on about 900 acres of land in the Halishahar area of the city adjacent to Sandwip Channel of the Bay of Bengal. At a press conference on Wednesday at CPA Auditorium, Commodore Zulfiqar Aziz said, the CPA is working to build 1500 meter multipurpose berth, two container terminals of 1225 and 800 meters, by 2025. Initially, construction of yards, truck terminals and boundary walls has been started.

At the press conference on the 132nd CTG Port Day, he said, after completing of Bay Terminal the capacity of Chattogram port will triple. He also said, in 2016, 26 million 6 thousand and 7 hundred containers were handled, but in 2018 it increased to 29 million 3 thousand. 9 percent growth in container handling statistics exceeded the port's 30-year tenure.

The Bangladesh government agreed to designate the Bay Container Terminal a ‘fast-track’ project in order to facilitate growing external trade and ease congestion at the country’s prime seaport. Once constructed, the terminal with thrice more space compared to that in Chattogram port would also be able to serve neighboring countries, including the north-eastern states of India. The country's overall economic development mostly lies on the development of Chattogram.

While talking to Bangladesh Post, Engr Rafiul Alam, Project Director of BCT said, on getting 69 acres of land from Chattogram district administration; we started the land development in the area. The given land was public property; rest of the 820 acre land is owned by the Government. Land Allocation Committee recently approved handover of the land to CPA, as per rule, we will transfer the value of the land to the district authority soon, he added.

He also said, the progress of land development is remarkable and we are expecting to start the operational activity within 2022-2023. According to officials, vessels of more than 190 meters (623 feet) in length and up to 13 meters in depth will be able to berth at the new terminal. The Strategic Master Plan for Chattogram Port, prepared by Hamburg Port Consulting, said the BCT will be able to accommodate vessels of up to 5,000 TEU.

Currently, Chittagong Port can handle vessels of up to 1,200 TEU and with a depth of less than 9.5 meters. The project consists of one multi-purpose terminal and two container terminals. For the multi-purpose facility, the Indian government has allocated about $450 million from the third line of credit offered to Bangladesh. The CPA is now looking for an additional $300 million required for terminal construction. In a feasibility study, Hamburg Port Consulting estimated that the project will require about $2.4 billion to be completed.

In the meantime five countries — Singapore, Korea, the United Arab Emirates, China and India — are competing to get the construction work. China Merchants Sports Holding Company Limited sent a letter to CPA for constructing the terminal in G2G format. Singapore based PSA company expressed their interest to operate the terminal rather construction of the terminal. International Port Development Co-operation of Korea expressed their interest to construct the terminal and other related works.

They had done another feasibility study. DP World of the UAE expressed their interest to construct the terminal on build-own-transfer basis. CPA source said, the government is verifying these proposals.