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Mongla Port eyes better business after executing dredging projects

Posted on March 20, 2024

Mongla Port, the second largest seaport in the country, is expected to do better business after the completion of a series of dredging projects that would facilitate commercial vessels entering the jetty smoothly.

The latest development is that the maintenance dredging by the ‘Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger’ was completed last week, deepening the available draught of Mongla Port outer bar area to over 10 meters, officials said.

It enables large commercial vessels to enter the inner bar and jetty smoothly while ensuring stable operation of the port, they added.

In the last decade, the maritime traffic to and from the port saw a decline due to lack of required draught. However, the traffic has been increasing in the last five years, officials at the Mongla Port Authority (MPA) said.

The dredging projects were mainly initiated in 2018 by engaging a Chinese company, the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

These projects improved the navigability of the Pussur Channel of the Mongla Port, said Dr AKM Anisur Rahman, member (Engineering) of the port authority.

The opening of the Padma Bridge offers new opportunities for the port as it reduced the travel distance to 170 kilometres from 289 km between the port on the southwest coast of Bangladesh and the capital Dhaka, the key industry and trade centre of Bangladesh’s $460 billion economy.

The distance between Dhaka and Chattogram, where the country’s largest seaport is located, is 78 km more.

Businesses often complained that despite the inauguration of the Padma Bridge, the Mongla Port cannot tap the potentials due to its poor navigability.

However, the traffic is expected to increase as the navigability has been increased by now, said Sheikh Sowkat Ali, project director of the “Inner Bar Dredging of Mongla Port Channel”.

Since 2018, the CCECC has played a significant role in maintaining the Mongla Port. They’ve completed multiple dredging projects, ensuring smooth passage for the commercial vessels, he added.

The “Xin Zi Lang 5”, one of the most advanced dredgers in Bangladesh, arrived in 2021 and has already removed over 2.4 million cubic metres of sand from the port channel.

The Mongla Port handled 32,269 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in the financial year 2021-22 and 26,590 TEUs in FY 2022-23, according to data from the MPA.

Around 9.9 million tonnes of goods of all types, including containerised cargoes, were transported through Mongla Port in FY 2022-23, down from 11.3 million tonnes in FY 2021-22.

Besides, a total of 827 ships arrived at the Mongla Port in FY 2022-23, while 886 ships had arrived in FY 2021-22.

Meanwhile, the CCECC on Tuesday hosted an open day event at the Mongla Port, showcasing their advanced trailing suction hopper dredger “Xin Zi Lang 5” and, aiming to raise awareness about marine engineering and sharing technology with the local community.

Over 400 people, including Mongla Port Authority officials, students, and teachers from the Khulna University of Engineering and Technology (KUET), and local primary and secondary schools participated in the event.

Participants were offered tours of the dredger, learning about its operation and the importance of dredging projects in maintaining smooth waterway access for commercial vessels. KUET students were particularly excited about the event.

Asked about their impressions, KUET students said they were excited to visit the largest and most advanced dredger working in the country.

KUET Professor Shahjahan also acknowledged the CCECC for its commitment to knowledge sharing. He highlighted the company’s ongoing support for academic forums and research collaborations at the university.

“The event focused on CCECC’s dedication to social responsibility in Bangladesh. They actively create job opportunities for local communities, participate in educational charity initiatives, and collaborate with universities on technological exchange programmes,” said a project official.

Through proper business practices and social contributions, the CCECC has earned a strong reputation in the Bangladesh market, said Steven Guo, manager of the project.

These efforts have made the CCECC a responsible and valuable partner in Bangladesh’s economic and social progress, he added.


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