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Bangladesh-China meeting on modernization of Mongla Seaport

Posted on July 10, 2024

Mongla is the second largest seaport in the country. The government has taken initiatives to increase and modernize the facilities of this important seaport in South Asia.

As a part of this, various activities including jetty construction and container yard construction have been undertaken. However, implementation activities cannot be started due to various reasons including geo-political complications.

The government was hoping for getting financing support from the Chinese Government in the project titled ‘Expansion and Modernization of Mongla Port Facilities’. However, possibly due to the pressure exerted on Bangladesh by India, this project has been pending since last September.

During the upcoming Prime Minister’s visit to China, the high-level meeting of the two countries may remove the obstacle to the modernization of Mongla Port.

In this matter to take Shipping Ministry’s opinion several times have been approached but concerned authority do not like to comment at all in this regard.

Upon request from Bangladesh, China International Development Cooperation Agency’s (CIDCA’s) gave preliminary approval of a project titled ‘Expansion and Modernization of Mongla Port Facilities’ on 14 December 2022.

The Prime Minister has approved the project to increase the capacity of Mongla Port. The implementation of the project will cost BDT 4, 282.76 crore. Out of this, BDT 500.39 crore will be spent from government funds and BDT3,782.36 crore from Chinese soft loans. The project will be implemented by Mongla Port Authority by June 2027 starting from this year.

According to the Ministry of Shipping, Mongla Port is in a convenient position for handling cargo from the border areas of various Asian countries in terms of geographical location. In particular, the use of the port as a transit point is very promising. Moreover, as a result of the construction of the Padma Bridge, direct road communication and the construction of the Khulna-Mongla railway have opened direct rail communication. As a result, the importance of the port has increased. But as such the existing facilities of the port are inadequate. For this reason, the government is trying to modernize the port. Now, if modernization stops for any reason, Bangladesh will fall behind.

As per the plan of Mongla Port Authority, 6 new jetties will be constructed at Mongla Port in addition to the existing 5 jetties, i.e. Jetty No. 5-9. Among these, India will provide loans for the construction of Jetty No. 1 and 2; Saif Powertech, a Bangladeshi company, has been awarded with Jetty No. 3 and 4 in PPP modality; the Chinese government will provide a concessional loan for the construction of Jetty No.10 and 11.

Such an allocation seems to have reflected a good strategy of balance and serves the best interest of Bangladesh. Cooperation with one party should not be hindered by cooperation with another party because both China and India are crucial partners of Bangladesh that follows ‘malice to none and be friendly to all’ in its foreign policy. Bangladesh will also remain in an advantageous position if India and China are encouraged to compete in expediting their respective jetty development, instead of delaying or disturbing one another’s development activities.

Mongla port has potential for the economy of Bangladesh. That is why the government is taking various steps to develop the port. Meanwhile, various projects including Padma Bridge, Padma Bridge Rail Link, Khulna-Mongla Railway Line, four-lane road up to Mongla, purchase of modern equipment for the port, inner-bar dredging, outer-bar dredging have been implemented and are in progress which are making the port dynamic.

The government has implemented a total of 19 development projects and 4 development programs at a cost of Tk 1,899 crore from 2009 to 2023 for the development of Mongla port alone.


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