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Zahid Hossain Biplob
The Cabinet Committee on government purchase has recently approved purchase of four ship-to-shore gantry cranes by the Chittagong Port Authority for the New Mooring Container Terminal, to improve container handling.
The cranes to be supplied by Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery Company Limited, will be financed by the CPA at a cost of Tk 243.13 crore, said a top-ranking official source of the Shipping Ministry, while talking to Bangladesh Post on Thursday.
He said, each of the gantry cranes could lift 25 to 30 containers an hour.
Earlier, the Chittagong Port Authority struck a deal with a Chinese firm to buy six gantry cranes for Tk 344.92 crore for the New Mooring Container Terminal to improve container handling.
The CPA purchased four gantry cranes in 2005, 10 years after the terminal was set up.
CPA when contacted noted that the procurement of the cranes was important for the Port to maintain its leading position in the region, and for the authority to continue to provide efficient service at competitive costs, in addition to supplying additional capacity to accommodate new lines, or to facilitate increased activities by existing lines when required.
According to Shipping Ministry sources, under the project, a total of 10 ‘gantry cranes’ will be purchased. Of these, 4 are now being bought. All the 10 cranes will be purchased by the own fund of the CPA, and the allocation for the purpose in fiscal 2017-18 was Tk 100 crore in the revised development budget. The remaining money will be given from the development budget of the current fiscal year 2018-2019, sources added.
Because of a lack of modern cranes, containers are being handled at the four jetties in the old way using cranes onboard vessels.
Modern ports worldwide use gantry cranes to handle containers.
The ministry official said that the government has taken measures for the capacity building of Chittagong Port, which will help reduce the crisis of jetty and other infrastructural deficiencies at the port.
The steps include operationalsing the Patenga Container Terminal by 2019, the Laldia Container Terminal by 2020, and the first phase of Bay terminal by 2021.
Chittagong is the prime sea port of Bangladesh. It handles 92 per cent of the country’s booming export-import trade.
Though cargo pressure is increasing, the infrastructure has not been developed. In the last 45 years, only seven berths have been built for the port.
The overstaying of ships has been increasing due to the crisis of yards and jetties.
The number of containers handled at the Chittagong port is growing by 15-22 per cent every year, but the port is running its operations with the same numbers of jetties it had 10 years back.
The New Mooring Container Terminals (NCTs) built in 2007 cannot run in full swing due to a lack of necessary equipment.