The New Mooring Container Terminal (NMCT) at the Chittagong Port will be fully operational by the end of this year with installation of 10 key gantry cranes.
Presently, the terminal, opened in October 2015, has no gantry crane.
Container handling at the port is being conducted by using the cranes of ships.
The shipping ministry has already completed the tender process for procuring four gantry cranes.
China-based Zhenhua has been selected through a tender process to supply the four gantry cranes at a cost of Tk 2.38 billion, a senior official at the shipping ministry said.
A proposal was sent to the cabinet committee on government purchase last week for its approval to this effect.
The procurement will be completed on receipt of the approval of the cabinet committee, the official said.
The government has undertaken a Tk 12.20 billion project to procure equipment for the NMCT.
When contacted, immediate past chairman of Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Rear Admiral M Khalid Iqbal told the FE that the gantry cranes would raise the port capacity.
After installation of the 10 gantry cranes, the cargo handling efficiency of the port would increase 50 per cent, he added.
Presently cargo handling is being conducted by using the cranes of ships.
A ship crane can make 16 moves per hour (mph) against a gantry crane's capacity of around 30 mph, he said.
At most of modern ports, cargo handling is being done by using gantry cranes, he noted.
Moreover, nowadays, cranes are not installed aboard ships to save space.
Most of the ships use gantry cranes installed at a port jetty.
The senior official at the shipping ministry said the terminal will get all the 10 gantry cranes by the end of this year.
The NMCT was constructed at a cost of Tk 7.37 billion.
It includes a 1000-metre-long berth and back-up facilities on 65 acres of land.
Before the inception of the NMCT, the port handled around 1.7 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers and 50 million tonnes of cargo in a year.
When the NMCT will be fully operational, the port will be able to handle 0.2 to 0.3 million more TEUs annually than the existing capacity.
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