The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) has opened some new routes from the seaport on a priority basis now.
After reopening of the Chittagong-Europe sea route formally on February 7 last after long 45 years since 1977 it has created possibilities of direct export and import with Europe. The CPA is trying to open more new maritime routes from the seaport now.
Talking with The Financial Express, Chairman of CPA Rear Admiral M Shahajahan said, "The quality and capacity of the seaport are increasing day by day like other modern ports of the world. Following the development of the port, we are trying to increase our sea routes now. The opening of the Chittagong-Europe sea route has ushered in a new era in export and import. It is a glorious occasion for our country."
"CPA will give priority to berthing, allocation of cranes and other facilities for the ships of the Chittagong-Europe sea route. The ships can carry containers on the sea route. If anybody wants to start a sea line from Chittagong to Europe, the CPA will give all support in this regard," he added.
He further said, "We have an opportunity to start a direct route from Chittagong to the USA. We will consider applications of the ship owners for new routes from the port on a priority basis now."
"Meanwhile, we have given permission to a new ship for carrying containers to European ports. Now, the ports of Portugal, Slovenia, and Dubai of the UAE want to sign agreements with the Chittagong Port for establishing direct sea routes. If the new routes are opened, the exports and imports of the country will increase remarkably," he added.
The MV AMO loaded with 182 TUEs of ready-made garments left the seaport on May 20 last for the Liverpool Port of England. The ship reached the Liverpool Port after 23 days.
Moinul Islam, Director of Phoenix Shipping Limited, a local ship operator, said, "The ship reached England after 23 days which is almost half the time required for the normal system to carry goods to Europe."
Besides, another ship MSC Kymea of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) of Switzerland, arrived at the Chittagong Port on May 26 last with 1200 TUEs of containers from Hong Kong. The ship left the seaport on May 27 last with 400 TUEs of export containers. It heralded the opening of a new sea route with China.
The ship needed 13 days to reach the Chittagong Port from Hong Kong. The MSC operates its own ships on the route.
Earlier the Pacific International Lines (PIL) started its sea route from Chittagong to China in 2011. But, the route was closed after some days at that time. Now, the sea route with China has opened again with the berthing and leaving of the MSC Kymea.
President of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Port Users Forum Mahbubul Alam said, "The operation of small container ships from Europe will reduce the cost of carrying export and import goods and the delivery time will also decline. The RMG sector of Bangladesh exports most of goods to Europe. If they can use the ships from Chittagong to European ports, they will be more benefited. The Chittagong-Europe sea route will help the RMG sector export their goods within a very short time. Besides, we need more new routes from the seaport in future for more benefit of our economy."
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