Mongla Port - the country’s second largest seaport is going to gain enhanced capacity soon as at least four important development projects will be completed this month. Infrastructure development of Roosevelt Jetty, procurement of modern tugboat, a rescue ship and a mobile harbour crane and capital dredging of the Pashur channel from Mongla port to the proposed power plant at Rampal will be completed within this month.
Zahirul Huq, Chief of Planning, Mongla Port Authority (MPA) said this while talking to Bangladesh Post on Saturday. Earlier on May 19, the steering committee of the shipping ministry at a meeting with shipping secretary Md. Abdus Samad in the chair asked the MPA to complete the work of the projects within the stipulated time.
These four projects have been implemented at a total cost of Tk 282.9 crore. Talking to this correspondent, Zahirul Huq said these four projects are very important for the port. “We have been asked to submit the Project Completion Report (PCR) to the shipping ministry after implementation of these projects. The report will be submitted before the ministry immediately,” he said.
The Awami League government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier undertook a mega programme for development of the Mongla Port. The projects under the programme include construction of an economic zone near the port, installation of railway lines from Mongla to Kolkata in India via Nepal and Bhutan and construction of link roads for enhancing regional connectivity.
Mongla Port has already turned into a profitable and busy port with enhanced foreign ship anchoring, increased handling of cargo, exports and imports activities during the last ten-and-a-half years as the present government implemented various development projects after assuming office in 2009, according to sources.
Earlier, Bangladesh and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement a number of projects at a cost of approximately Tk 3,000 crore to develop Mongla Port. The projects include construction of four jetties and two yards, a large multistoried garage for car parking, four-lane roads, purchasing of 11 survey and tag boats and modern machineries for handling cargo and containers.
The sources said, the government of India earlier provided an assistance of Tk 6,256 crore to develop Mongla Port into a first-class seaport. “The capacity of the port will be enhanced further upon completion of the projects,” Chief of Planning, Mongla Port Authority (MPA) said. The MPA under the shipping ministry has already procured a mobile harbour crane from the renowned crane manufacturer company of Germany LIEBHERR for the port at a cost of Tk 42.70 crore to ease the port’s container handling system after 68 years since the port was established.
“It would help to expedite loading and unloading of port’s cargo after commissioning the mobile harbour crane. It is an epoch making initiative of the present government to procure the mobile crane after 68 years,” the official said. According to him, it would be possible to earn Tk 12 crore after commissioning the crane that would handle 20-25 containers per hour.
The MPA officials said infrastructure development Roosevelt Jetty has also been completed. And it will help accelerate the port activities. Meanwhile, modern tug boat "M T Sundarban," a rescue ship, has joined the fleet of Mongla Port. The tug boat was anchored at no-7 jetty of Mongla Port on March 12 after arriving from Malaysia.
According MPA, the rescue boat will play a vital role to check accident while plying ships at Mongla channel. This new tug boat will be useful while anchoring in jetty area and rescuing foreign ship when it falls into accident. This 42-ton tug boat was constructed by Shibu Shipyard of East Malaysia at a cost of Tk 39 crore early this year.
Both foreign and local commercial ships will be benefitted with the arrival of 'Sundarban' into the MPA fleet and the port will see huge ship anchoring in the jetty in the future, according MPA officials. Meanwhile, capital dredging of the Pashur channel from Mongla port to the proposed power plant in Rampal, Bagerhat has already been completed. The government took up the project to dredge the Pashur river so that coal-laden vessels from India can travel through it to Rampal Power Plant.