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Srilankan offer of using colombo port shall strengthen bargaining power of Bangladesh

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June 15, 2014


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Srilankan offer of using colombo port shall strengthen bargaining power of Bangladesh

Refata Nasim :

Srilanka has recently constructed a deep sea terminal called Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) aiming to increase the shipping business. To improve the connectivity between Bangladesh and Srilnaka, as well as enhancing their own shipping productivity Srilanka plans to merge with Bangladesh shipping industry.

As Bangladesh always uses the Singapore port for shipping purpose, and Bangladesh finds Colombo port is not as fruitful as Singapore port. Colombo port is new and it needs to take some important steps to reach shipping hubs and grab the market. Colombo deep seaport has to compete with other shipping industry. Bangladesh is the fruitful path to grab the shipping hubs and expose the facility.

However, Bangladesh now using the 12 percent of its 1.4 million containerized cargos by Colombo deep-sea port, but most of the time it uses Singapore port for shipping transshipment that comes from USA and Europe.

Transshipping is the movement of container to the destination through intermediate destination. In the journey of transshipment, it contains lots of feeder vessel, which can carry 1000-1200 containers and moved to the mother vessel which capacity is 10000- 12000 containers. This is why Sri lanka launches large terminal called Colombo international container terminal (CICT). It is a joint venture between China Merchant Holding company and Srilanka port authority. Its capacity is not only for large ships, Maersk’s Triple E vessels, which can carry 18,000 containers, but also the next-generation 22,000 TEU capacity vessels.

But Bangladesh port authority advises to contemplate the proposal and do market study to know the future advantages that is benefited for our transhipment.

Md Shamim Ul Huq, managing director of Maersk Line Bangladesh, told the BTE that Colombo port authorities want to promote their port in Bangladesh. He said that Singapore port was much more competitive than the Colombo port.

Bangladesh uses 60 percent of its transhipment by Singapore port then PTP of Malaysia. As the Colombo terminal is not as productive as the Singapore terminal, before taking any decision, Bangladesh port authority needs to undertake a market research through a joint venture between Chittagong port authority and Colombo port authority.

Mr Huq said Colombo port would have to compete with other transhipment hubs if it wanted to raise its traffic volume.

Captain AS Chowdhury, country head of a feeder service provider, said Singapore was much more attractive than Colombo port. He added that, he can cite 100 reasons why the traffic at Colombo port is not rising. Many destinations like Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand are close to the Singapore. That is the main advantage of using the Singapore port, he added.

He said that this business is not possible through one way.

The trade between Srilanka and Bangladesh is not as high that it can improve the traffic volume. It is important for Srilanka but not significant for Bangladesh.

A team, led by chairman of Sri Lankan Ports Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama, met the Hon’ble shipping minister Shajahan Khan at the Secretariat on 30 april 2014.

A seminar on “Enhanced maritime connectivity between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka: reality and prospects” took place on 30 April in the Dhaka.

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