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Officials take action as congestion sees boxships waiting for 12 days off Chittagong

Officials take action as congestion sees boxships waiting for 12 days off Chittagong
Chittagong Port Authority has moved to alleviate the congestion situation at Bangladesh's top port.

Gearless boxships have had to wait on average 12 days to call at the port since May as a result of bad weather, equipment shortages and Ramadan. Two cranes were bashed by a ship in late June, adding to the port's woes.

The local port authority yesterday convened a meeting with local port operators, shipping lines and agents to work out what to do to alleviate the traffic.

Larger ships will now be allowed to call at night, more space will be allocated for containers at nearby yards, while the authority has said it will pressure customs to urgently clear three rubber tyred gantry cranes so that can be installed at put into use at the port.

The port authority maintained that the severe congestion could be over within a fortnight, however, the local shipping community has urged for more berths to be built at the port soon.

The port, via its two container terminals, handled 2.3m teu last year, considerably above its 1.7m teu design capacity according to a recent report by thee Asian Development Bank (ADB).

''Unless such expansion is carried out and operation efficiency is improved, the port is likely to become a bottleneck to the international trade of Bangladesh,'' ADB warned. Chittagong, which is a draft constrained river port, accounts for around 90% of the country's international seaborne traffic.

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