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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mongla Port to unload cars

The Mongla Port authorities have taken initiatives to allow ships with reconditioned cars to berth at the port in a bid to make the country's second seaport economically viable.
The initiatives were taken as traders are continuously losing interest to load and unload their products at the port.
“We talked to the car importers about the issue. They identified several problems in carrying cars through the port. We will work out further to solve their problems,” said Lutfar Rahman, member (Operation) of the port.
According to latest statistics, only 128 ships berthed at Mongla Port in 2007-08 fiscal year against 313 in 2001-02 fiscal year. The port also incurred a Tk 2.6 crore net loss in the last fiscal year against a Tk 5 crore profit in 2001-02 fiscal.
Traders said foreign ships charge more tariff to berth at Mongla Port for which they prefer Chittagong Port.
Mongla Port is situated in the southwestern part of the country under Bagerhat district at the confluence of Pussur river and Mongla Nulla, around 71 nautical miles (131 km) upstream of the Bay of Bengal.
The port has some natural disadvantages in free berthing at jetty, as ships need to depend on the tide of the sea.
Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicle Importers and Dealers Association (Barvida) members said they now want to focus on Mongla Port due to severe congestion at Chittagong Port.
Space shortage at the car sheds of the country's premier port creates problem, forcing foreign ships loaded with imported vehicles to keep floating at the outer anchorage for days, port officials said.
Reconditioned car importers requested the Mongla Port authorities to talk with the shipping companies concerned.
The port authorities have initiated move to talk with two shipping lines who mainly carry reconditioned vehicles.
Barvida Secretary Abdul Hamid Sharif said the port has some shortcomings such as lack of internal security, and inadequate infrastructure and other problems at Maowa ferry ghat should be addressed.
He said over 20,000 reconditioned cars were imported so far this year, and the number would reach around 25,000 by the year-end. A total of 19,500 reconditioned cars were imported last year, he added.

(The Daily Star-21.10.2008)

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