| Code: 61637 |

TIN news:         A Chinese state-owned company has agreed to fund and help implement a big project of Tk 20 billion aiming to modernise and expand facilities at Mongla port, officials said.
 
In this connection, the Mongla Port Authority (MPA) and China National Complete Engineering Corporation (CNCEC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) last week, they said.
 
The project will be implemented under the government to government (G-to-G) arrangement. The Chinese government will provide preferential loan to implement the project. MPA chairman Riazuddin Ahmed told the FE the government expects to secure funds from both the Chinese government and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for the project.
 
“We did not receive any response from the IDB, but the Chinese corporation has come up with the proposal for funding the project. That’s why, we signed the MoU last week,” he said. He said a Chinese technical team will visit Bangladesh soon to conduct necessary studies relating to the project implementation.
 
Besides, Khulna University of Engineering and Technology (KUET) has been entrusted with the task of conducting feasibility study on the port’s capacity building under the large project.
 
Mr Ahmed said a target has been set to complete the project by 2019. The load of import-export consignments through Mongla port will increase manifold after vehicles start plying over the Padma Bridge and Mongla-Khulna rail line starts functioning. Investments will also thrive in greater Khulna region then.
 
“To complete the port modernisation work in time the Chinese offer has been accepted without delay,” he added.
 
Officials said the port will have to handle a significant amount of transit trade of India and Bhutan in the near future. In June, Bangladesh signed an MoU with India allowing the neighbouring giant to use Chittagong and Mongla ports.
 
The officials said the project is scheduled to start in the current fiscal year, FY 2015-16, and is expected to be completed in four years.
 
The MPA chairman had earlier told the FE that there would be a big boom in investments surrounding Mongla soon as BEZA (Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority) and Mongla Export Processing Zone have been extending facilities to investors. These two organisations took lands from the Mongla port for setting up the establishments.
 
He said apart from these two special zones, businessmen are making large investments surrounding the port on the bank of Poshur River. Besides, he said, the Rampal coal-fired power plant will bring a big volume of trade for the port.
 
The chairman said the port, which was built in the 1950s, is not properly designed for handling containers. It has five old jetties for handling bulk and general cargoes.
 
He said construction of two jetties with local-foreign consortium will start soon under public-private partnership to substantially enhance its container-handling capacity. A separate container terminal will also be built to handle the load of containers smoothly.
 
Under the mega project, a container terminal will be built at a cost of Tk 7.44 billion, construction of a container delivery yard will cost Tk 3.190 billion, and a multi-storage car-parking yard will cost Tk 7.280 billion, among others.
 
The MPA chairman said a good number of reconditioned vehicles are being imported through the port, which are now kept in a scattered way. The multi-storage car park will help remove the problem, he said.

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