Congestion at port to ease by this week: CPA

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CHITTAGONG, July 19, 2017 (BSS) – The existing backlog of ships at the outer anchorage of the country’s prime seaport Chittagong would ease by this week, official of the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) said.

“The port authorities have taken some emergency measures to ease the existing congestion at the port” Harbour Master Mohammad Farid told BSS.

The measures include maintaining the berthing time and serial of ships during unloading cargoes, introducing a special shift during launch time and 24-hour unloading of cargos from the berthing ships.

The official said the port authorities had also taken initiatives to set up new instruments and modernise the existing ones so they could handle loading and unloading of more ships at a time at the port.

According to the official, three rubber tyred gantry crane (RTG) already arrived at the port and five units of forklifts would be here by mid-August. The process of procuring 11 more RTG, four straddle carriers, five container movers and a rail mounted RMG is underway. A tender has also been floated to procure six Ships to Shore gantry cranes.

Besides, CPA has also restricted empty shipment from Off Dock while continuing force shipment of empty containers from Port Yard for smooth unloading of cargoes, he said.

CPA brought down the turnaround time significantly in the past few months, but the outer anchorage recently faced congestion problem due to substantial growth in cargo, container and ships, the official said.

He said more ships anchored at the port to unload a huge amount of goods those were imported at the end of the immediate past financial year.

“The increased import for meeting the demand for different goods during Ramzan also contributed to the congestion at the port,” the official said.

He said the port is now handling 16 to 17 cargoes in every hour so the congestion eases soon.

“To enhance the port’s dynamism and efficiency, we have taken short, mid and long term plans in line with the Seventh Five-year Plan, Vision 2021 and 2041,” said CPA Chairman Rear Admiral M Khaled Iqbal.

He said the CPA had also initiated the process of constructing Patenga Bay Terminal by 2019 to cope with the growth of container and cargo.

Mahbubul Alam, president of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said that proper cargo vehicles management, maintaining berth time and serial of lighter vessels and round the clock unloading would reduce the ship congregation.

CPA Member Mohammad Jafar Alam said it is fact many ships are waiting at the outer anchorage, but CPA alone could not solve the problem.

He urged owners and workers of cargo-vessels and coastal ships to assist CPA to solve the crisis.

Chittagong Port handled 7 crore 72 lakh 55 thousand 731 metric tonnes of cargoes and 23 lakh 46 thousand 909 TEUs of containers in 2016. The number of vessels arrived at berth in Chittagong Port rose to 3,014 in 2016 from 2,709 in 2015.

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