Posted on April 27, 2017
By Syful Islam, The Financial Express
The government has moved to modernise and strengthen the south-western Mongla port to handle the increased load of cargoes it has to face once transit goods and Rampal power plant’s raw materials are unloaded there, officials said.
The step has been taken following an instruction of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to make the port ready by removing shortcomings to face the pressure in the days to come, they added.
A nine-member committee, headed by commerce secretary (in charge) Shubhashish Bose, was formed late last month to look into the issue. The committee has been asked to submit a report by April 30.
The committee has been directed to submit a preliminary report within the timeframe and submit a detailed report if it finds that a large amount of money will be needed to modernise and strengthen the port.
Earlier, the PMO sent a letter to the Ministry of Shipping (MoS) with the directives given by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to prepare the port for dealing with increased loads.
The directives include continuous dredging of the Mongla-Ghasiakhali channel and keeping the Shela river inside the Sundarbans open for plying of ships until the channel is made ready for plying of all types of vessels.
It also asked for regular dredging of the Pashur river, emergency dredging of Mongla-Nowapara river route for ensuring adequate navigability, and arranging sufficient number of navigation equipments.
Besides, the MoS was also asked to set up a depot for fuel oil, establish a power plant and a water treatment plant and arrange a high-capacity floating crane for the port.
The PMO also asked the ministry to make mandatory 100 per cent import of fertiliser through the Mongla port for agricultural use and raw materials for factories located in Khulna, Rajshahi and Barisal divisions.
It also asked for providing transit facility to India, Nepal and Bhutan using the port.
Besides, the directives also include arranging adequate number of crane and conveyor belts for quick delivery of goods in different jetties, and necessary pontoon and gangway for Roosevelt jetty in Khulna district.
Contacted over telephone Monday, chairman of Mongla Port Authority AKM Faruque Hassan told the FE a number of steps are there to make the port ready to handle a large volume of cargoes once the countries, given transit facility, start using the port and construction of Rampal power plant begins.
He said port use will also increase manifold when construction of the Padma Bridge will be over.
Mr Hassan said in the last fiscal, the port handled some 41,000 TEUs (twenty feet equivalent units) of goods against its capacity of 0.25 million TEUs. Besides, it handles goods of 7.0 million tonnes against the capacity of 13 million tonnes of goods.
“We are working to raise container handling capacity to 0.7 million TEUs and goods handling capacity to 70 million tonnes,” he said.
Source: The Financial Expres