Bangladesh Special Correspondent | Dec 21, 2018 10:15AM EST
Currently, Chittagong port has a 50,000-TEU storage capacity, including the yard at Pangaon Inland Container Terminal. (Above: Chittagong port.) Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.
The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) will build a 1 million-square-meter (1.19 million-square-yard) mega-container yard, which will substantially increase storage capacity, lessening port yard congestion.
Currently, Bangladesh’s prime seaport has a 50,000-TEU storage capacity, including the yard at Pangaon Inland Container Terminal.
However, the new facility, to be called Bay Container Yard (BCY), will add space for 550,000 TEU, increasingChittagong port’s storage capacity to 600,000 TEU — a more than tenfold increase in yard storage capacity. The new yard is expected to cost $87.5 million and will be built by PSA Singapore.
With average annual container handling growth of more than 10 percent, the Chittagong port yard faces acute congestion throughout the year from container storage. Moreover, during festival-linked holidays, when truckers are reluctant to transport cargo, the number of containers at the port yard exceeds storage capacity.
Chittagong, which handles nearly 90 percent of Bangladesh’s seaborne trade, handled nearly 3 million TEU in 2017, compared with its designed annual capacity of 1.7 million TEU. The private sector inland container depots (ICDs) provide some storage container relief for Chittagong port; the ICDs can handle 1.56 million TEU per year.
Port officials say when containers are stockpiled in the port yard, it creates obstacles to loading and unloading containers, and their movement becomes slower.
Three-phase construction plan
CPA chair Rear Admiral Zulfiqur Aziz told JOC.com the Bangladesh Navy has already started the earth filling for BCY’s construction. He said the main construction work will start next year, adding that the yard will be built in three phases; the first one is expected to be completed by 2020, totaling 400,000 square meters of container storage space.
The second phase — 150,000 square meters — is targeted to be completed by 2022, and the final phase, also 150,000 square meters, will be completed before 2024, he said. Aziz said Chittagong port will handle an estimated 6 million TEU by 2028.
Once operational, BCY’s capacity will enable the port to easily manage the daily volume of containers, the CPA chairman said, noting that mainly containers handled at the 19 jetties will be stored in the new yard.
“The yard is being built as an extension of Chittagong port’s existing yard, to store the growing number of handled containers,” Aziz said.
He said Bay Terminal, and other terminals such as Patenga Container Terminal and Laldia Multipurpose Terminal, will have their own yards with sizes adequate to handle their containers.
“The yard will be built through open tendering allowing both foreign and local parties to participate,” Aziz said. “We are building it keeping in target the demand to be created in 2028.”
In addition, Aziz said a truck terminal and required sheds will be built near the BCY so that it can remain operational for 24 hours a day.
“We will also build the necessary facilities for the customs department at the yard for delivering and receiving inbound and outbound containers from there,” he noted.
According to a senior port official, yard space in front of the port has done little to alleviate the space shortage. One example: in November 2017 CPA built the South Container Yard, which added only 3,000 TEU of storage capacity — extremely inadequate given Chittagong port’s increasing volume.