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Country’s first inland container terminal opens at Pangaon
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) and the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) jointly built the terminal.
The terminal is expected to play a positive role in the country’s economic development by opening up a new horizon in the transportation of exported and
imported goods through waterways. The project aims to help ease the pressure of cargo movement on the Dhaka-Chittagong railway and highway corridors.
The terminal would have a storage capacity of 3,500 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers and handle 116,000 TEU containers annually.
The capacity will gradually be raised to 160,000TEU.Three vessels – Pangaon Express, Pangaon Success and Pangaon Vision – have already been procured from
China at the cost of Tk500m to operate the terminal.
Each vessel can carry 128 containers (20ft equivalent units or TEUs).
Officials said the terminal would help reduce the cost of carrying goods from Chittagong and Mongla and ease the traffic pressure on the Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Khulna highways. The government has given approval to build 30 vessels for the purpose of carrying goods through the terminal. Two container-laden vessels can be
berthed at a time at the jetty. Officials said all facilities, including RCC jetties, marshalling yards, office buildings, a container-freight station workshop, a 500km
connecting road and two RCC bridges had already been built. Of the total number of containers released from the Chittagong Port, 70% travel to Dhaka and Narayanganj areas.
Only 10% of these containers come by trains, while the rest are transported through road, which is more expensive and prone to creating traffic congestions.
Around Tk21,000-22,000 is needed to carry a container from Chittagong to Dhaka by road, while the cost goes down to around Tk 8,500 per container if it is the waterways. The CPA-funded project was scheduled to begin in July 2005 and be finished by June 2007. The deadline was extended in 2007,2009, 2010 and 2011 because of bureaucratic tangles and the tardy approach of contractors. The Pangaon terminal has been built on 64 acres of Biwta land along the Buriganga River. RCC yards,
jetties and sheds were constructed on 35acres of land, while measures towards bank protection and roads were built on 29 acres. More than 1m TEUs of containers are handled at the Chittagong Port annually.
The transportation of containers from ICT-Pangaon will start from October/November 2013 by inland river way using small container vsl of about 150 teus
maximum capacity. Transit time from ICT-Pangaon to Chittagong port will be around 18 hours.
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