UK-based Port Evolution Management has signed a joint-venture deal with Bangladesh’s Rupayan Port & Logistics Services to develop the country’s first private inland container terminal.
The deal will see Port-Evo develop and operate a 300,000teu container terminal in Narayanganj, serving the capital Dhaka, under a 15-year JV equity investment and management contract with Rupayan.
In a separate move, Port-Evo also expects to conclude negotiations with the Bangladesh government early this year on construction of a container terminal at the southern port of Mongla.
Rupayan Group also received Bangladesh government permission to establish a river-based container terminal near Dhaka to transit goods between the southeast Bangladesh port of Chittagong and the capital.
The terminal will be equipped with an online container tracking system, customs and other regulatory agencies, agricultural inspection and quarantine areas.
The facility will work primarily as a supply chain inland feeder hub for Chittagong and Mongla ports, serving Dhaka-based importers and exporters.
Port-Evo chief executive James Sutcliffe said: “This is a first-mover project to relieve road congestion in Bangladesh by making environmentally friendly transport systems using Bangladesh’s extensive waterways to get freight off the roads.
“Our barge-based system will be far more efficient for exporters, substantially cutting the transit time and cost. This is one of several projects we are working on in Bangladesh where we see excellent growth prospects.”
The Dhaka-Chittagong economic corridor contains some 32% of Bangladesh’s population and generates 50% of gross domestic product and some 85% of international trade through Chittagong port, but congestion remains a problem for hinterland road and rail links.
Sutcliffe said the Dhaka development “is a first, as we will be barging the containers down to Chittagong and Mongla ports and then reloading to deepsea vessels”.
The barges will handle some 50 containers each, operating shuttle services to ports some 250 km from Dhaka through the river systems.
He said: “With prospects of more barge terminals, we anticipate that we could be handling 1m teu in a few years’ time based on current growth prospects in Bangladesh, which this year is set to expand by 7% of GDP.”
The terminal is expected to start operations early next year as construction is already underway.