The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) has handed over two newly constructed cargo-lightering jetties to two private industrial groups.
Through a open tendering method, two major business houses-KSRM Group and Confidence Cement Ltd-have got a lightering jetty each for 10 years.
The jetties have already unloaded iron steel and cement clinkers from lighterage vessels.
The building materials were then taken to production sites from the landing stages.
The vessels offload a portion of cargo from mother vessels at the outer anchorage in Kutubdia deep sea of the Bay of Bengal to anchor at the port berths.
The CPA move will facilitate importers to promptly take their cargoes to the respective destinations or importers' production units, businesses said.
They termed it a bold step of the CPA aimed at speedy and hassle-free cargo handling.
The operators concerned will also be able to handle cargoes of other parties, if they want to do so, in their jetties, sources said.
Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Mahbubul Alam said it is a timely step of the CPA, especially its chairman who is working for the welfare of both the port and its users.
CPA chairman Cdre Zulfiquer Aziz told the FE on Sunday that two companies are already operating activities in their dedicated lightering jetties.
Three other jetties are in the bidding process through the same open tender method, he said.
Sources said Confidence Cement got the cement jetty (jetty No. 5) as the highest bidder at Tk 46.1 million per year for a period of 10 years.
KSRM (Kabir Steel Re-rolling Mills) Group got the lighter jetty No. 4 (iron/steel jetty) as the highest bidder at Tk 51 million per year for the same period.
Sources said vessels with the capacity of 2,000 tonnes of cargo will anchor at all the five lightering jetties at Sadarghat.
Senior executives at Confidence Cement and KSRM Group said they are now able to expedite cargo lightering in greater volume for exclusive handling facilities.
The CPA has invited fresh quotations for a food grain jetty and two other lightering jetties (jetty No. 2 and 3) for iron and steel importers.
Quotations from the interested bidders for the lightering jetties were sought in April and May this year, port officials said.
Mr Aziz said the CPA constructed five lightering jetties in Sadarghat area on the bank of the Karnaphuli following development of jetties after capital dredging to make the river more navigable.
He said the CPA has undertaken projects to build up 15 more lightering jetties for the port users as they have been suffering a lot for lack of smooth lightering facilities in the port for a long time and demanding more lightering jetties.
Five jetties are being built behind Incontrade Container Depot at Patenga Laldiarchar and five others will be built at Hamidchar under Chandgaon.
Five other jetties will be constructed at Sitakunda for the industries located there.
Cargo handling in Chattogram port, the country's prime seaport, is growing rapidly for a rise in import and export at 14 to 15 per cent year-on-year.
But the mother vessels calling in the port take longer time to unload cargoes, causing growing concern for the traders.
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