Cabinet body nod sought to build N’ganj PPP ICTJasim Uddin
The shipping ministry has sought approval of the cabinet committee on economic affairs for construction and operation of an inland container terminal at Khanpur in Narayanganj under a public-private partnership initiative, officials said.
The proposal will be placed at the CCEA meeting to be held next week for its approval, they said.
The ministry has taken the initiative to construct the ICT on the river bank of Sitalakhya, near to Narayanganj river port of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, to facilitate expansion of trade with the neighbouring countries including India through inland waterways and reduce problem of container congestion at the Chittagong port, according to the proposal prepared by the ministry for the CCEA.
The terminal can be used in transportation of bilateral containers under Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade between Bangladesh and India, the proposal said.
Earlier, the shipping ministry sent a proposal to the PPP office for arranging finance from the private investment.
Analysing the proposal, the PPP office in May opined that the project needed in-principle approval from the CCEA for implementing under the PPP scheme.
According to the pre-feasibility study conducted by the Infrastructure Investment Facilitation Centre, the terminal will be constructed on 12.80 acres of land at a cost of Tk 255 crore.
If the terminal is constructed, it will reduce container congestion in the Chittagong port, expand trade with India through inland waterways and reduce cost of transportation, the proposal said.
It will also increase container cargo handling capacity from the Chittagong port to Dhaka and Narayanganj and will create employment generation for the local people, it added.
Quoting a World Bank report, the proposal said if the terminal was constructed, it would save 58.8 million litres of diesel a year as vessels would consume less fuel across waterways.
Arguing in favour of the construction of the ICT, the shipping ministry said that around third-fourth of containers uploaded or unloaded at the Chittagong port originated to and from Dhaka and its adjacent areas.
But only 10 per cent of total containers are transported by railway while the remaining containers are transported through trucks by road causing slow container handling at the Chittagong port and resulting severe container congestion at the port, officials of the ministry said.
Due to slow container handling, ships stay for long at the port resulting increase in shipping cost, they said.
So, construction of an ICT has become necessary to facilitate container transportation through waterways and to ease container congestion at the Chittagong port and to provide improve facility in overall container transportation to the businesses as transportation of containers through waterways is easy and involves less cost, they said.
The terminal will also connect Dhaka and surrounding areas with the Mongla port, they added.
After getting approval from the CCEA, the PPP office, an institution under the Prime Minister’s Office, will look for partners from private sectors to implement the project, the officials said.
The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority has built the country’s first ever inland container terminal at Pangaon at Keraniganj in Dhaka at a cost of Tk 1.77 billion.
Besides, 18 private container depots are in operation in Chittagong. Those have been built by the local entrepreneurs with the local resources and expertise.
The Chittagong Port Authority has funded the Pangaon Container Terminal which is now awaiting commercial operation.
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