Bangladesh to allow foreign companies in port operations

Bangladesh will to allow foreign companies to participate in its port operations, a move designed to spark competition that businesses expect will yield better services.

A decision was made at a government meeting Monday, while a decision is made on whether to operate the under-construction Patenga Container Terminal in “tool port” or “landlord” model.

Shipping secretary Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury told, the foreign company operators will bring in equipment based on their requirement for the smooth operation of the terminal.

“If we set equipment on our choice that may not be suitable for the operator,” he said. “So we decided to drop the option from the development project proposal.”

Chowdhury acknowledged receiving proposals from different international port operators to run the Patenga terminal.

“We have to check their proposals and decide on which jobs they are suitable,” he said.

A senior official at the Public Private Partnership Authority told, the terminal will be operated under the supply, operate, and transfer model. It means the operator will supply all the required equipment and will hand over the terminal to the port authority once their tenure ends.

Majors express interest

According to Chittagong port officials, Dubai-based DP World, Saudi Arabian Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT), and Indian Adani Ports and Logistics are among the global port giants who have expressed interest to operate the Patenga terminal.

Mahbubul Alam, president of Chittagong Chambers and Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said businesses want better services no matter whether they are being provided by local or international operators.

Alam said allowing international operators will create scope for competition to provide more efficient services. “Accepting competition from both local and international companies will lower the cost of service and businesses will [benefit],” he said.

The engineering core of Bangladeshi Army is involved in construction of the 600-meter-long Patenga Container Terminal, which will have three jetties with 9.5 meters water draft.

The terminal, with an estimated cost of $235 million, will handle some 600,000 TEU of containers annually.