Newly appointed Chairman of Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Rear Admiral Mohammad Sohail on Tuesday said they expect to attract $5-7 billion in foreign investment in the next three years.
At a meeting, he also said Chittagong Port is serving as Bangladesh's main gateway to global trade. The growing trade demand of the country, the geographical importance of regional communication and port-centric development projects are increasing the importance of the port.
Alongside investments, CPA expects new technology to be introduced at the port through foreign companies.
Direct shipping with Europe has already started and large vessels with 10-metre draught and 200m length are being docked at the port.
“Within the next year, it will be possible to dock ships with 11.5m draft. Besides, new terminals are being constructed for the future for fast clearance of imported goods and fast shipping of exportable goods,” he added.
Sohail further said that the Matarbari deep-sea port development project, construction of the Patenga container terminal, bay terminal and heavy lift jetty will increase foreign investment. Denmark is already interested in investing in Laldia Multipurpose Terminal.
He said that there have been significant developments in the last decade such as an increase in outer anchorage, Vessel Traffic Management Information System (VTMIS), digitisation, addition of state-of-the-art container handling and side gantry cranes. The aim now is to become a regional freight hub.
CPA is determined to play a strong role in achieving SDG targets including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Vision 2021 and 2041. CPA is making 50 modules to transform it into a fully digitised port.
According to Sohail, it will be possible to launch the new chemical shed at the port in December and Patenga Container Terminal (PCT) is running on trial.
The design of the bay terminal and breakwater is in progress. Vessels of 12-13m draft will be able to operate 24 hours a day in wide channels. The construction of the first jetty of Matarbari Port will begin. It can accommodate ships with 10,000-12,000 containers.
The CPA chairman further said that although the global economy was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, it did not affect the container handling of the Chittagong Port rather the cargo handling and income increased.
Exports through the port increased by 50 per cent in June, of which 84 per cent were ready-made garments.
Port Member (Finance) Md Shahidul Alam, Director (Admin) Md Mominur Rashid, Secretary Md Omar Faruk and others were present during the meeting.