Maersk wants to run Patenga container terminal
Global ports and terminal operator APM Terminals, a subsidiary of Danish shipping company AP Moller Maersk, has expressed interest in developing and operating the under-construction Patenga Container Terminal of the Chattogram port.
The company has already submitted its proposal and is currently pursuing key government officials to secure the deal.
Maersk is the fifth contender in the race to win the deal for running the terminal under an "Equip, Operate and Maintain" model.
The other global firms which earlier expressed their interest are Saudi Arabia-based Red Sea Gateway Terminal, Dubai-based DP World, Indian firm Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, and Singaporean firm PSA International.
The Prime Minister's Office was mulling over proposals of DP World and Red Sea Gateway when Maersk's one surfaced, according to sources in the shipping ministry and the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA).
A senior official of Maersk Bangladesh told The Daily Star that they submitted a proposal to the government in January and now the company representatives were in discussions with the authorities through the Danish embassy.
A delegation of APM Terminals-Maersk Group accompanied by Ambassador of Denmark to Bangladesh Winnie Estrup Petersen met CPA Chairman M Shahjahan at his office on February 14.
The following day they met State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury in Dhaka.
In a press release issued yesterday, the embassy said the meeting with the state minister aimed to explore deepening cooperation over maritime infrastructure.
The company considers Patenga Container Terminal to be a crucial enabler for local and global growth and a key element of meeting the country's export ambitions, it said.
The company believes the terminal has "the potential to alleviate many of the constraints that adversely impact the Chattogram seaport today, hindering the future economic growth of Bangladesh", it read.
"The Chattogram seaport is currently utilised at over 100 per cent of its capacity," Martijn van Dongen, vice president, global head of corporate development at APM Terminals, said in the statement.
"While truly commendable, it is not a sustainable solution matching the country's growth ambitions," he said.
"We believe that by developing a new terminal in Patenga together with our Bangladeshi partners, we can provide a viable and much-needed infrastructure solution with a positive economic impact," Dongen added.
APM Terminals, together with Maersk's Ocean Transport business and Sealand Asia, the group's intra-Asian carrier, expects the new terminal in Patenga to quickly grow in volume, benefitting a large pool of Bangladeshi businesses, the statement said.
The 34 Engineer Construction Brigade of Bangladesh Army is constructing the terminal on around 30 acres of land at Patenga, stretching from Chittagong Dry Dock to Chittagong Boat Club near the estuary of the Karnaphuli river.
Once completed, the terminal, comprising three container jetties of a total length of 583.5 metres and a 204-metre-long dolphin jetty, will be able to handle 0.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers annually.
The government approved the project in June 2017 for implementation by the CPA while the cost was primarily estimated to be Tk 1,868 crore.
The CPA in September that year appointed the 34 Engineer Construction Brigade to do the physical works.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs last year decided to implement the project titled "Equip, Operate and Maintenance of Patenga Container Terminal" under a public-private partnership model.
According to a survey by the shipping ministry, the potential investment for the project is $58 million and the annual operating cost is $8 million.
Project Director Mijanur Rahman said the construction work has already progressed by around 85 per cent.
CPA Chairman Shahjahan hopes for the terminal to go into operation by coming June.