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Mongla Port’s upgradation to improve sub-regional connectivity, trade: officials

The project for upgradation of Mongla Port, being taken up under the third Indian Line of Credit (LoC), would greatly boost the revenue generation and improve the sub-regional connectivity, trade and commerce and accelerate growth of the entire region.

With the development of the Khulna-Mongla Port rail project, the development of this port will add to the maritime links for movement of goods not only between India and Bangladesh but also to and from Bhutan and Nepal, said officials at the Mongla Port.

Mongla port is the second largest port of Bangladesh and has good inland connections to the business hub of Khulna. The project for upgradation of the Mongla Port is being taken up under the third concessional Line of Credit (LoC) of India and includes construction of Jetty no. 1 and 2 of the Mongla Port with an estimated cost of around Taka 6,014.61 crore.

Out of the total project cost, Taka 1,555.20 crore will come from the government of Bangladesh portion while the rest of Taka 4,459.41 crore as project assistance from Indian Line of Credit. The project is scheduled to be completed in the next fiscal year.

While making an infield-visit to the project site at Mongla Port and exchanging views with the concerned officials of the project, it was learnt that the implementation of the project was delayed due to the COVID-19
pandemic, but it would get a momentum when the PMC contract would be awarded within a few days following approval at the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP).

Egis India Consulting Engineers Pvt. Ltd has emerged technically qualified bidder for the PMC contract of the project. The value of PMC contract is US$9.6 million.

“Hopefully we’ll soon get the approval for awarding the PMC contract and after that the letter of award will be issued followed by the signing of the contract agreement,” said Joint Secretary Md Imtiaz Hossain, member
(Engineering and Development) of the Mongla Port Authority.

While talking to reporters at the conference room of the Mongla Port Authority, Imtiaz, who is also the project director, said it would greatly improve sub-regional connectivity, trade and commerce and accelerate growth
of the entire region.

He said appointment of the consultant has been delayed due to the impacts of the pandemic and once the consultant is appointed, then the implementation would start in full swing and hopefully it would be completed within timeframe.

He informed that they had managed to keep the cost for appointing consultant around Taka 82.55 crore from the earlier proposed Taka 154.66 crore.

“Once the project is completed, new port facilities will be created while we’ll be able to see Mongla Port as a well-equipped and modern port in this region,” the member of Mongla Port Authority added.

He also informed that they would be able to float tender by April of next year and after that the physical works would begin in full swing.

To facilitate the transportation of the containers to and from the Mongla Port, the erection of the rail tracks has been going on under the Khulna- Mongla Rail Line project.

Chief of Planning of Mongla Port Authority Md Zahirul Huq said once the Mongla Port is upgraded, the revenue collection from the port would be increased to a big extent while cargo handling capacity of the port will also be enhanced as larger ships can be handled at the jetties.

Revealing some of the benefits from the project, he informed that around 180 ships could be handled in addition to the existing capacity while the ship turnaround time would also decline, some 2km X 1km protected areas will be expanded, 4 lakh TEUs of containers and 15 million tonnes of goods can be
handled alongside some 10,000 vehicle handling capacity.

Besides, the revenue collection from the port through customs and other sources would increase by more than Taka 3,000 crore per year.

Apart from this, residential facilities for the officials and employees of the port as well as marine and mechanical facilities would also be created.

The main project operations include construction of two container terminals (2×200 meters), construction of 93,000 square meter container delivery yards, extension of protected area (3km) including security system, construction of 22,000 square meter service vessel jetties, procurement of eight vessels, construction of 13 high-rise buildings, construction of 3,500 square meter mechanical workshop, construction of 0.40km rail crossing overpass at Digraj, Upgradation of the existing Port road to six lanes and building a multi- storey car yard having capacity of housing 10,000 cars.

The Government of India has so far extended four LOCs to Bangladesh worth US$7.862 billion. Some 42 projects have been taken up under these LOCs so far, of which 14 projects have been completed and the rest are at various stages of implementation.

Disbursements under these LOCs had reached a milestone figure of US$1155 million as on the close of the last fiscal year on June 30, 2022. Disbursements in the last fiscal year (FY22) were US$327.87 million and this is significantly higher than the disbursements in any previous fiscal year despite the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the concessional financing scheme (CFS), another US$1.6 billion has been committed by GoI for the Maitree Super Thermal Power Plant Project. The total concessional financing by India under LOCs and CFS is therefore US$9.462 billion.