The Bay Terminal will be the new modern port. The size of the country’s economy and the way in which imports and exports are increasing will make it difficult to provide services with the existing facilities of Chittagong Port in the near future. In this situation, a kind of concern has been observed among the business community and port users for a long time. They were demanding to increase the capacity of the port through construction of Bay Terminal. Although there is a lot of procrastination, finally the construction of Bay Terminal is now a reality. Necessary preliminary processes including land acquisition have been completed. The agreement will be signed on May 31 with two consulting firms.
Although the project is to expand the port of Chittagong, in fact a new modern port is going to be the Bay Terminal of Sagarpar. The terminal will be able to accommodate twice as many ships as the existing port, where the port authorities want to dock by 2024. The Bay Terminal, which is being developed as a deep-sea port, will play a major role in the national economy by increasing product handling efficiency, productivity and mobility. Some say next port, some say alternative port. However, whatever the name may be, through this the capacity of Chittagong port will be tripled. This terminal will radically change the capacity of Chittagong port.
According to Chittagong Port sources, two South Korean companies Kunwa Engineering and Consulting Company Limited and Dien Young Engineering Company Limited have been appointed as consultants. The design work of the terminal will be completed soon after the signing of the contract. It is going to cost 126 crore 49 lakh 63 thousand 98 rupees. The consulting firm will take eight to nine months to complete the program. Earlier, on April 8, a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Procurement approved the appointment of a consultant. Five organizations from different countries expressed interest in becoming consultants. In the end, the two Korean companies were jointly hired after screening.
The need to build a bay terminal for the expansion of Chittagong port was seen long ago. As the size of the economy grew, it became increasingly difficult to provide services with existing port facilities. That is why they put more emphasis on building a bay terminal before the Matarbari deep sea port. But now work is underway on two deep-sea ports and a Bay Terminal. Although the agreement with the consulting firm will be signed on May 31, the port authorities have already started the work of carrying out some preliminary works including filling of soil.
Various foreign companies have expressed interest in constructing the much-anticipated Bay Terminal. These include China Merchants Sports Holding Company Limited of China, PSA International of Singapore, DP World of UAE, Adani Port of India, APM Terminals of Denmark, Hyundai Group of South Korea and International Port Development. Authorities said the decision to build the terminal would be taken as soon as possible without delay. According to the target, part of the work will be completed by 2024.
According to various port users, Bangladesh will have to handle at least 10 million containers annually by 2040 as imports and exports continue to grow. The target is to handle at least 5 million containers through Chittagong port. The Bay Terminal is being constructed with the aim of increasing the facilities of the existing port. This terminal is going to be in an area of 6 and a half kilometers of Sagarpar. The World Bank has agreed to assist in the construction of a breakwater (wave regulator) for the terminal. The Bay Terminal will have a total of 3 terminals, one of which will be constructed by Chittagong Port Authority. The other two will work on a PPP (public-private partnership) basis with a foreign company.
By the way, Chittagong port is handling 3 million or 3 million TEUS containers annually. With the growth of industrialization and import-export, the existing port facilities will not last long. Construction of the Bay Terminal is expected to be completed by 2025. However, the terminal that will build the port out of the three, has a target of ships by 2024.
According to project sources, the Bay Terminal will cover an area of 2,300 acres in a length of 8.5 km from Chittagong EPZ to South Kattli Rashmonir Ghat. A terminal will be implemented by Chittagong Port itself. For the other two, there are foreign interested institutions, which have been asked to submit technical and financial proposals separately. As the country’s economy is growing and demand is increasing, there is no room for delay.
According to the source, all the three terminals of the Bay Terminal will be of equal size. The terminal on the south side will be constructed earlier, which will be implemented by Chittagong Port. Each terminal will have four jetties. In August 2016, the port authorities got 8 acres of land for the terminal. Then the rest of the land is matched in stages. The Bay Terminal is being built on a total of 908 acres of land. Of this, 6 acres of land has been acquired, the remaining 639 acres are government land. At that stage, there is no obstacle in the implementation of the project.
Among the three terminals that the government has decided to build at the Chattogram port under the Bay Terminal project, two will be constructed and operated by DP World UAE and PSA Singapore in public-private partnership arrangements.
The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) will construct and operate the other terminal with its own funding and management, according to decisions made at a high-level meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) recently.
The construction of the Bay Terminal was first discussed in the 30-year strategic master plan adopted in 2013 to increase the capacity of the Chattogram port and make it a hub of regional trade.
Four years later, a technical and economic feasibility study for the construction of the terminal showed that the Bay Terminal would be economically viable and investment-friendly for Bangladesh.
The construction of the Bay Terminal at the Chattogram port will be completed by 2026. After that, about 35 ships will be able to berth at the terminal at a time and it will be possible to handle an additional 50 lakh containers.
Mahbubul Alam, president of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry, one of the top business organizations, said the bay-terminal is a demand of Bangladesh’s economy. It needed to be done earlier. Despite the delay, the work has rolled on the field. “Our demand was to build a bay terminal by 2021,” he said. Now the target of the port authority is by 2024. Don’t let it drag on again. To meet the Prime Minister’s goal of raising the country’s export revenue to বিল 60 billion, port facilities must be increased. The leader of the business community is of the view that increasing the capacity of the port is very important for achieving the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) by 2030.
The capacity of the port at the Bay Terminal will be tripled. The Bay Terminal alone will be able to handle twice as many containers as the port of Chittagong now handles. As a result, the capacity of the port will be tripled after completing the work and going into operation. Ships with a maximum draft (depth) of 9.5 m can be crowded through the current channel. Ships of this size can carry 1600 TEUS containers. The bay terminal will be able to accommodate large ships with a draft of 12 meters, which will be able to carry up to 5000 TEUS containers.
Existing ports depend entirely on tides. You have to wait for the tide to sail and the ebb tide to leave. The present jetties are located 15 km upstream from the sea. There are several twists and turns. As well as the risks involved in navigating the ship, it also takes more time due to the distance. Existing jetties do not have 24-hour shipping. But since the Bay Terminal will be on the seashore, ships will be able to come and go there 24 hours a day.
The existing facility of Chittagong port can accommodate 19 ships at a time. The bay terminal will be able to accommodate at least 35 ships. This opportunity will be further enhanced later. The location of the terminal is going to be within zero kilometers from the sea. If there is a bay-terminal, only the existing port can handle double the goods. Moreover, the biggest advantage that can be found is the easy transportation of goods to and from the port. From there, imported goods can be easily transported to different parts of the country by highway. Shipping of export products will also be easier. Being out of the city, the port transports will not put pressure on the city. This will reduce traffic congestion a lot.