A government project is set to boost the capacity of the country’s second busiest seaport of Mongla.
This is to support an increase in trade arising from development initiatives scheduled to be completed around the country by 2020-21.
The initiatives include the construction of the Padma bridge, Khan Jahan Ali airport in Bagerhat, a rail line from Khulna to Mongla and a special economic zone under a Bangladesh-India joint initiative.
The capacity enhancement will also raise possibilities for transit-based trade for exports of India, Nepal and Bhutan.
The port’s container handling capacity is predicted to increase from 8.72 lakh twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2025 to 45.32 lakh TEUs in 2049, says a research report.
Some 30,000 vehicles will go through it in 2049 whereas over 1,200 ships a year in 2019-20, up from 912 in 2018-19 and 416 in 2014-15.
Moreover, it could facilitate import of around 45 lakh tonnes of coal every year once the 1,320MW Rampal power plant starts running.
The Mongla project encompasses purchase of some state-of-the-art vessels and equipment worth Tk 767 crore.
This includes a mother vessel, two tugboats, a search and rescue vessel, a survey and research vessel, a buoy laying vessel and official equipment.
The vessels and equipment are expected to ensure safer channels, organised handling of ships and emergency rescues during natural calamities.
The plans and predictions were described by Planning Minister MA Mannan after a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) at the NEC in Dhaka yesterday.
The meeting approved seven projects worth Tk 4,460 crore, four of which were revised ones.
One of the revised projects was for strengthening the power grid network, with the cost raised by Tk 622 crore to Tk 14,326 crore.
Approved in 2016, the project was scheduled to be completed in June 2021. The deadline was revised to June 2024 for delays of the financier, China, according to a planning ministry proposal.