Chittagong Port is set for a major transformation with Abu Dhabi Ports Group leading the way. The company has offered a whopping $1 billion to construct a multipurpose terminal, marking the first step in a $7.5 billion investment spree for Bay Terminal.
Under a public-private partnership (PPP) deal to be signed by June 2024, Bay Terminal will boast four facilities: two container terminals, a multipurpose terminal, and an oil and gas terminal. This ambitious project aims to accommodate ships 260 meters long and 12 meters deep, eliminating the need for waiting for high tides.
South Korean firms Kunhwa and Daeyoung have already laid the groundwork with a feasibility study and masterplan. Meanwhile, PSA Singapore and DP World from the UAE are slated to operate the container terminals under a government-to-government PPP arrangement.
Beyond containers, the Bay Terminal plans to significantly bolster Bangladesh’s fuel storage capacity. A local private firm has pledged $3.5 billion for a liquid bulk terminal, and the World Bank is on board for channel dredging and breakwater construction. With these investments, the country’s fuel storage will jump from 25 days to a secure 2 months.
Chairman Rear Admiral Mohammad Sohail envisions total foreign investment reaching $8 billion and construction kicking off by June or July 2024. Additionally, discussions are underway with Danish shipping giant Maersk’s APM Terminal to build a container terminal at Laldia, highlighting Bangladesh’s growing appeal to global players.
Despite global economic challenges, Chittagong Port remains remarkably resilient. It retained its coveted “Three Million Club” membership by handling over 3 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containers in 2023, barely shy of last year’s record. Cargo handling is also expected to exceed 12 crore tonnes this year, surpassing the previous high.