Ctg port posts 13pc growth in container handling
Bangladesh's premier seaport in Chattogram handled record number of containers in 2021 and also posted over 13 per cent year-on-year growth in container handling.
The port handled 3,214,448 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of export, import and empty containers in the just concluded year, up from 2,839,977 TEUs in 2020.
The figure was prepared after including the number of containers loaded and unloaded at the main jetties of the port along with Pangaon Inland Container Terminal in Keraniganj and Kamalapur Inland Container Depot in Dhaka, said CPA Secretary Md Omar Faruk.
The number of containers handled by the port in a year crossed 3 million TEUs for the first time in 2019 when 3,088,187 TEUs of containers were handled, posting a 6.34 per cent year-on-year rise.
In 2020, the country's foreign trade marked a sharp 8 per cent fall in annual container handling, when the port handled 2,839,977 TEUs.
So, annual container throughput also saw a negative turn last year driving the port out of the "Three Million Club" in terms of container handling.
With the resumption of business activities at home and abroad after the primary waves of Covid-19, the country's foreign trade gained momentum with a rise in container and goods transport through the port since the final quarter of last year.
Earlier, the port posted 8.88 per cent year-on-year growth in container handling in 2018 and 10.13 per cent in 2017. The port handled 29.04 lakh TEUs in 2018 while the figure was 26.67 lakh TEUs in 2017.
Different types of commercial items, machinery, commodity, chemical products and all sorts of industrial raw materials except cement and ceramics are imported through containers while export goods are solely carried through containers.
Cargo handling by the port also posted 13 per cent year-on-year growth in 2021.
The port handled a total of 11.66 crore tonnes of cargo in 2021, up from 10.32 crore tonnes in the previous year.
Vessel arrival at the port also rose in the same period.
A total of 4,209 vessels arrived in 2021 while the number was at 3,728 in 2020.
After the initial shock of the pandemic, economic activities around the world began to intensify from the end of 2020, which caused a rise in goods transport through the Chattogram port, said Mahbubul Alam, president of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI). He thanked the port authority for keeping the port running round the clock.
The port did not face remarkable vessel congestion this year when many regional and global ports remained choked with congestion for many weeks, he said.
The port had limited manpower, but they managed keeping the port running 24/7, which helped the trading channel handle record number of containers in the year, CPA Chairman Rear Admiral M Shahjahan said.
He said the port management maintained personal supervision and closed monitoring over the port's operational activities as well as maintained coordination with all the stakeholders to avoid congestion over the period.
He thanked the port staffs and workers as well as all the stakeholders like berth operators, ship handling operators, importers, exporters, shipping agents, clearing and forwarding agents, freight forwarders, customs officials and others, who worked together in a coordinated way.
The number of gantry crane has been increased from 4 to 14 in the port while its storage capacity in the yards has been increased gradually, the chairman said, adding that these capacity enhancing measures helped the port grow its productivity.