Saudi Arabian port developer Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT) has intensified efforts to mark its footprint in Bangladesh's port sector by investing in under-construction Patenga Container Terminal (PCT) in Chattogram.
A delegation, led by RSGT global investment director Gagan Seksaria, sat with shipping ministry officials in Dhaka on Thursday where they enquired about the investment procedure in Bangladesh.
According to the officials concerned, the delegates expressed their eagerness to invest in PCT operation alongside other ports and terminals that require funds.
A shipping official, who attended the meeting, said the RSGT delegation had also visited the planned Bay Terminal area in Chittagong to check the possibility of making investment there too.
However, the delegation did not place any investment proposal for the terminal, he told the FE on Friday.
The RSGT team was accompanied by officials of the local company SHR Group, a multi-modal transportation conglomerate in Bangladesh.
However, no SHR official could be reached for comment on the outcome of the meeting.
In September, Prime minister's private-sector adviser Salman F Rahman had a meeting with Saudi transport minister Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser who also spoke about RSGT's interest in Patenga terminal.
Mr Rahman told him that a government-to-government deal could pave the way for Saudi investment in Bangladesh's various sectors, including in ports.
Back in Dhaka, the adviser told the media that a deal between the two nations was expected soon.
The PCT, being built on 32 acres of land by Bangladesh Army, is expected to start operation early next year.
The construction of the 600-metre terminal costs the state exchequer Tk 20.75 billion. The facility will have an annual capacity to handle 450,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers.
It will be able to accommodate three vessels, up to 10.5-metre-water draft, 190-metre length and a 220-metre-long oil tanker at a time.
Vessels up to the size of 4,500 TEUs will be able to take berth in the terminal.
Up till now, the government has not opened its port sector to any foreign company for either construction or operation.
Officials, however, say the government plans to operate a portion of the PCT by a foreign firm to ensure competitiveness among local and foreign operators, and high-quality service as well.
If awarded a contract, they add, the RSGT will bring modern equipment and operate the terminal for a period before its handover to the Chittagong Port Authority.