Overseas operator for Port of Chittagong’s New Mooring Terminal

The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) is now planning to lease another large container terminal to foreign operators to compete with terminal operators and provide port users with the international standard services.

With a new Cabinet decision and approval, the Port of Chittagong’s New Mooring Container Terminal (NCT) will be operated by one of the world’s leading port operators.

The government is also in the final stages of negotiations to hand over the newly built Patenga Container Terminal to Saudi’s Read Sea Gateway Terminal for long-term operation and maintenance.

On March 23, at a meeting chaired by Bangladesh Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the appointment of a private operator to international standard to operate and maintain the NCT and Overflow Container Yard in line with the Procurement Guidelines for PPP Projects, 2018.

The NCT was run by a local operator from the start, but port users were dissatisfied with the service on offer.

Shippers have long called for bringing foreign operators into Chittagong’s port terminals to improve service quality in one of the world’s busiest and most congested ports.

But the influential circles have not allowed it until now.

Recently, the government has shown determination to allow foreign investment and operators in the port sector in order to improve the port’s service standards. And as a result, foreign operators thronged Bangladesh with big investment proposals.

Two years ago, DP World officials expressed interest in investing about $1 billion in building and managing ports in Bangladesh.

After that, the government is in talks with DP World about the operation of the NCT. A delegation from DP World, led by Rizwan Soomer, the company’s chief executive officer for the subcontinent, visited Bangladesh last year and met with senior government officials on the proposal.

Rizwan Soomer also visited Bangladesh last week and had a meeting with Bangladesh’s Junior Shipping Minister Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury to discuss developments in this regard.

Bangladesh is building a major terminal, namely the Bay Terminal, and construction work for the deep sea port of Matarbari is also progressing.

Foreign operators such as AP Møller-Maersk, DP World, Red Sea Gateway Terminal, Adani Ports and SEZ Limited, CMA CGM and PSA Singapore are in the race to invest in the logistics sector and operate port terminals in Bangladesh.

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