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PM opens Pangaon Container Terminal

The much-awaited Pangaon Inland Container Terminal started its journey on Thursday (7 November 2013) opening up a new horizon in container transportation on waterways and fulfilling the demand of the business people.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina opened the Pangaon ICT on the bank of the river Buriganga at Pangaon in South Keraniganj.
With shipping minister Shajahan Khan in the chair, the function was also addressed by local MP Nasrul Hamid Bipu and shipping secretary Syed Mazurul Islam.
AL advisory council members Amir Hossain Amu and Tofail Ahmed and chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the shipping ministry Nur-e-Alam Liton Chowdhury were present on the occasion, among others.
Earlier, the prime minister opened the terminal by unveiling its plaque and releasing pigeons and balloons.
She also witnessed the unloading of the maiden container at the terminal by mobile harbour crane.
Inaugurating the Pangaon ICT, Sheikh Hasina
said with the opening of the terminal export and import will be boosted to a great extent. The consumers will benefit massively due to inauguration of the terminal as transportation cost by road is higher, she said.
The prime minister said the business people would get a huge benefit in transportation of export import goods through the terminal during the hartal.
She said the government had taken steps to open the country’s third seaport on the river Paira at Ramnabad in Patuakhali.
Shipping ministry sources said Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority and Chittagong Port Authority jointly built the terminal at a cost of Tk 154.08 crore.
Three vessels — Pangaon Express, Pangaon Success and Pangaon Vision — have already been procured from China at a cost of Tk 50 crore to operate the terminal. Each vessel can carry 128 containers (twenty-foot equivalent units or TEUs).
Officials said the terminal would help reduce goods carrying cost from Chittagong and Mongla, and ease traffic pressure on Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Khulna highways. The government has given approval to build 30 vessels to carry goods through the terminal.
Two container-filled vessels can be berthed at a time at its jetty. The 2,400-TEU capacity terminal can handle 1.16 lakh TEU containers annually.
Of the total number of containers released from the
Chittagong port, 70 per cent travel to Dhaka and Narayanganj. Only 10 per cent of these containers come by train, while the rest are transported by road, which is more expensive and creates traffic congestion.
Around Tk 21,000-22,000 is needed to carry each container from Chittagong to Dhaka by road, against around Tk 8,500 per container by waterways, said the officials.
The CPA-funded project was scheduled to begin in July 2005 to be completed by June 2007. The project deadline was extended in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 because of bureaucratic tangles and the tardy approach by the contractors, the sources said.
The Pangaon ICT has been built on 64 acres of BIWTA land.

– BSS

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