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Chattogram to get first rail-linked container depot

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Dhanlabh Logistics

DHAKA : The port city is set to get its first multi-modal container depot in two years, which will enhance Chattogram port’s capacity to handle export-bound and imported goods.

The terminal-cum-off-dock in Chattogram will have an annual handling capacity of three lakh TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containers. It will accommodate around 8,500 containers at a time.

Saif Logistics Alliance Lid, a concern of Saif Power Group, will invest around Tk 300 crore to build it on the railway’s land in the Halishahar area of the port city.

The company yesterday signed a contract with Container Company of Bangladesh Ltd (CCBL), a concern of Bangladesh Railway (BR), to develop the facility on the “design, build, finance, operate, maintain and transfer” basis.

With the signing, CCBL also began its operation more than five years after its formation in May 2016.

Belal Uddin, managing director of CCBL, and Tarafder Md Ruhul Saif, managing director Saif Logistics, inked the contract at a hotel in Dhaka.

“The new terminal will have both rail and road provision, and we will put more emphasis on rail communication,” Tarafder Md Ruhul Amin, chairman of Saif Logistics, told.

“This will be the first multi-modal container terminal in Chattogram. There is a gap between the need and the capacity of ICDs, and the new terminal will help meet the demand.”

“It will increase the port’s container-handling capacity.”

As per the contract, BR will hand over 21.29 acres of land within six months. Saif Logistics will construct the depot within two years.

Once it comes into operation, the private company will provide Tk 1.5 crore annually as fixed royalty and 21.50 per cent of the total income on a monthly basis as variable royalty.

After 20 years, Saif Logistics will hand over the depot to CCBL, which expects to earn Tk 789 crore in the two decades, officials said.

Saif Power Group operates two terminals — Chattogram Container Terminal and New Mooring Container Terminal — in the Chattogram Port.

It has created a special purpose company, Saif Logistics, to construct and operate the new facility.

At present, there are 19 private inland container depots (ICDs) in and around the port city. They together handle 1.3 lakh TEUs containers, including export, import and empty every month.

These ICDs have only road connectivity. As a result, their users, both exporters and importers, can’t make the most of the railway network of the country.

Around 92 per cent of the export containers shipped through Chittagong port are handled by the private ICDs.

Besides, 37 types of import goods-laden containers are directly sent to the ICDs where the goods are unstuffed before delivering to the consignees after customs procedures.

The port handled 30,97,236 TEUs of containers in the last fiscal year, up 3.1 per cent from a year ago.

Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan, who was present at the agreement signing ceremony, urged Saif Group and others to give priority to railways to transport containers.

Railways Secretary Salim Reza and BR Director General Dhirendra Nath Mazumder also spoke at the programme.

Vansh Logistics
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