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Two global port operators – PSA and Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT) – have been shortlisted to construct Bay Terminal, a 12-metre draught facility near Chittagong port.
At the same time, RSGT and DP World are on the priority list for operating the under-construction Patenga Container Terminal, which will raise Chittagong port’s container handling capacity significantly.
The Bangladesh government is keen to enhance goods capacity of the country’s prime seaport, which frequently faces acute congestion.
“We are in talks with these foreign companies. An agreement will be signed after the negotiation is completed,” a senior shipping ministry official said.
Bay Terminal will be built nearly 10 miles north of the estuary and will comprise one 1,500-metre multipurpose terminal, one 1,225-metre container terminal and two 830-metre container terminals. It will have 13 jetties and accommodate vessels of up to the 280 metres long. The construction cost is estimated at $2.5bn.
Currently, vessels with a 9.5-metre draught can dock at Chittagong during high tide – Bay Terminal’s location nearer the sea will allow vessels to be able to berth independent of tides.
Sources say the government’s Public-Private Partnership Authority is in talks with PSA Singapore on technical, financial, and legal issues. The Singaporean company may be involved in capital dredging, building a breakwater in the bay and constructing the container terminals, except the multipurpose facility.
Several other companies, from China, India, Korea, and the Middle East, have expressed interest in investing in Bay Terminal construction, but until now PSA Singapore and RSGT are in pole position, confirmed an official.
Meanwhile, the government has engaged the engineering corps of the Bangladesh Army for construction of the Patenga Container Terminal, a 600-metre long facility with a back-up area of 26 acres and three berths with 9.5 metres of depth alongside. The $235m terminal be able to handle 360,000 teu a year.
With RSGT and DP World on the priority list, if successful would be the first foreign companies to operate ports and terminals in Bangladesh.
Chittagong has a designed handling capacity of 1.7m teu, but last year handled 3.1m teu.