Cargo vehicle terminal construction begins at Benapole port
The construction of the cargo vehicles terminal at the Benapole Port has begun as the government looks to improve the capacity of the largest land port in South Asia.
The terminal will allow the port to handle an increasing flow of goods of international trade, particularly between Bangladesh and India.
The Bangladesh Land Port Authority (BLPA) took a Tk 290 crore project in July 2019 to establish the terminal to reduce congestion and facilitate a faster and seamless flow of goods between the two countries.
The project was designed to start from July 2019 as per Development Project Proforma but administrative approval came in January 2020.
The BLPA got the allocation for the project from the fiscal year of 2020-21 and acquired 25 acres of land for more than Tk 24 crore.
It hired a consultant for designing the cargo vehicle terminal and other facilities, including labour shed, rest house, BLPA office building and internal road.
"We have already hired the contractor to build the terminal and construction has started," said Md Mostafa Kamal Mazumder, project director of the cargo vehicle terminal.
"We want to complete the construction of the terminal by June next year. The part of the terminal will be visible by June this year."
The BLPA initiative came amid the growing use of the port by businesses for trades with their Indian counterparts.
The handling of export and import cargoes at the port grew 74 per cent to 30.7 lakh tonnes in 2020-21, compared to 17.6 lakh tonnes in FY2015-16, BLPA data showed. Imports accounted for 90 per cent of the total goods.
The port now handles nearly 700 trucks carrying inbound and outbound goods and can accommodate about 1,100 trucks in three of its terminals dedicated to imports, exports and trans-shipments at a time.
The yard could house nearly 1,300 trucks after completion. The port also handles containers coming by railways from India.
After the construction of the new cargo terminal, the combined capacity of the port will be 2,500 trucks. BLPA Chairman Md Alamgir says traffic jams at the port would decline and the waiting time of trucks would go down as well.
Of the 12 operational land ports in Bangladesh, Benapole accounts for 90 per cent of the total trades that take place through land ports.
Yarn, fabrics, garment accessories, capital and agricultural machinery, automobile, fruits, and perishables are imported through the port, while garments, raw jute and jute goods, chemicals and fish are mainly exported.