Bangladesh is planning to relieve "intolerable" congestion at its main port of Chittagong by building a floating terminal to act as a transhipment hub.
AMA Muhith, the minister of finance, made the announcement on Monday 7 August at a stakeholders meeting in Keraniganj, near Dhaka. The minister said: "In the meeting, we discussed building a floating terminal in the outlying area of Chittagong port. The decision has to be implemented quickly."
He added that the aim would be to complete the terminal in 18 months time.
The terminal would take some ships out of Chittagong’s inner harbour. At present, vessels have to wait up to 10 days to be allocated a berth.
Rafayet Ullah, a manager at a Dhaka-based apparel factory, told the JOC website: "The congestion in Chittagong has gone beyond the tolerable."
The terminal would allow large container ships to offload their cargo ready for smaller ships to take up the Meghna River to Pangaon Inland Container Terminal in the southern suburbs of Dhaka. Cargoes coming from Dhaka would be offloaded at the floating terminal and aggregated on a large container ship for transport to other larger transhipment hubs at Singapore and Colombo in Sri Lanka.
Image: A small "brown water" ship carrying containers to Pangaon Inland Container TerminalÂ (PICT)