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Develop Chittagong port fast

Source:   Time:

It is a matter of concern when the major seaport of the country remains hamstrung by inadequacies that should not be there in the first place. It cannot be lost upon the planners that Chittagong Port, given its location, can become the hub of trading activities both international and regional, only if…. and the 'if' remains the stumbling block.

It is inconceivable that the garments owners would have to count extra costs amounting to hundreds of crore in terms of air freight because of mismanagement of the port, as was the case last year. It is ludicrous too that it should take three weeks for goods to reach the container terminal in Dhaka from the port while it takes less than quarter that time for these goods to reach Chittagong from Singapore.

It is both a comforting as well as a matter of concern that of the existing capacity of the port nearly half of it remains unutilised. It is good that we have capacity to cater to the increased volume of cargo, particularly with India, Nepal and Bhutan the potential users. Efforts must be made for its full utilisation.

While it will be necessary to go for expanding the capacity of the port it is essential to prioritise the works in order that the essential works are done as matter of urgency. Thus expanding the capacity would mean very little if the handling capacity is not correspondingly increased in order to reduce the turn around time of the vessels.

Given that 90 percent of the country's foreign trade is through Chittagong port, and given the potential demand on it, completion of its development work cannot brook further delay. And we fully endorse all the suggestions of the stakeholders made at a seminar on Chittagong port to make it more efficient, and which the government must take note of.

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