CHATTOGRAM, Dec 22: Chittagong port, the prime sea port of the country, has handled three million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) for the first time in a calendar year.
The port set the new record on Saturday, nine days before the end of the current year, sources said.
The Chittagong port recorded over 3.0 million containers during the period from January to December 21. This milestone has put the port on the list of ports of three million TEUs, according to the sources in Chittagong Port Authority (CPA).
Md Omar Faruk, Secretary to the CPA, said, "A number of projects have increased the port's inner berth capacity. Besides, construction of a new North yard beside Rubi cement factory and procurement of heavy and modern equipment helped break all previous records of container handling."
"The CPA has imposed strict limits regarding how long a ship can stay at the port to ensure speedy loading and unloading of containers in order to reduce container congestion and improve productivity," he added.
Sources said the New-mooring Container Terminal (NCT) and Chittagong Container Terminal (CCT), the two terminals of the Chittagong sea port, have handled a total of 1.7 million TEUs, in the current year. Saif Power Tec Limited is the operator of the NCT and CCT.
Tarafdar Ruhul Amin, managing director of Saif Power Tec, said, "We have handled around 1.7 million of containers as of yesterday (Saturday) in the current year. We are trying to increase our capacity as well as the capacity of Chittagong sea port for handling the container."
Sources said, the Chittagong sea port handled a total of 2,808,499 TEUs in 2018-19 fiscal, 2,705,909 TEUs in 2017-18 fiscal, 2,419,481 TEUs in 2016-17 fiscal, 2,189,439 TEUs in 2015-16 fiscal, 1,867,062 TEUs in 2014-15 fiscal and 162,509 TEUS containers in 2013-14 fiscal,
In September this year, the port operators handled a total of 292,455 TEUs, the highest in a month.
Enamul Karim, director (Transport) of CPA, said, "The Chittagong sea port set a new record of handling 3.0 million containers in a year."
CPA officials said the Chittagong port depends on private operators for handling the containers. As the private operators increased their capacity, Chittagong port is recording a growing number of TEUs.
A total of 3,747 ships were berthed at Chittagong sea port in 2018, up from 3,370 in 2017. At the same time, the stay time of ships at the port has also come down.
Presently, off-dock container-carrier ships are staying at the Chittagong port for only 35 hours while export container-carrier ships leave the port only within an hour, sources said.
Besides, stay time of ships of imported container was not more than seven days in 2018 while the time was eight to nine days in 2017, they added.