Cargo exports suffer for rutted Port Connecting Road

Pankaj Dastider | Published: July 22, 2018 13:00:24 | Updated: July 23, 2018 14:49:25

Photo courtesy: ADB

The Chattogram Port Connecting (PC) Road that carries about 50 per cent of the cargoes to and from the prime seaport long remains rutted.

Businesses alleged that roughly 6,000 trucks, covered vans and trailers transport containerised or bulk cargo from Chattogram port every day.

Around the same number of vehicles plies the road with exportables from different parts of the country to the port almost daily.

But the six-kilometre PC Road remains broken at many points and has turned dangerous for transportation.

This road being the exclusive entry and exit of the port's traffic system has developed multiple ditches and potholes.

Illegal wayside parking and unwarranted structures are causing road accidents here regularly.

Nurul Quayyum Khan, chairman of Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association, said cargo handling has reduced and off-docks are suffering for congestion in the dilapidated PC Road.

When containers face congestion, cargo handling in the off-docks becomes slow, thus causing obstacles in the shipment of export consignments, he observed.

Heavy vehicles need wide road as they carry cargo all over the country using PC Road, said Mr Khan, also chairman of QNS Container Services Ltd.

"As PC Road remains unusable for more than a year, most of the off-docks located around the port are facing export-import container congestion," he said.

Sixteen off-docks handle 100 per cent export cargo and 25 per cent import cargo of the port.

Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP) said there were reports of frequent accidents on the road.

The dreaded accident occurred on August 13, 2017, when a container trailer hit a motorbike in a bid to avoid a wide broken part of the road.

A CMP official said residents have lodged dozens of complaints with Halishahar police station and Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) for its repair.

A CCC engineer said they have undertaken renovation of PC Road but local residents alleged that work is going on at snail's pace.

The road was constructed exclusively for port activities and not for common use.

But it has now been discarded by importers and exporters for frequent accidents by cargo transport operators, lamented Mr Khan.

He told the FE that the road has turned risky for heavy vehicles in all seasons, thus causing serious problems for both importers and exporters.

The businesses are now using Chattogram Port Access Road, otherwise called the toll road, he informed.

Mr Khan said he wrote to CCC Mayor AJM Nasir Uddin on July 11 with a plea to elevate Port Access Road into six lanes for heavy pressure of vehicles.

He recently held a meeting with the chairman of Chattogram Port Authority Cdr Zulfiquer Aziz and conveyed their grievances.

Mr Aziz assured him of providing all support for smooth functioning of off-dock cargo handling activities, he said.


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