NCT tender to be floated this month: Minister
Friday, 02 March 2012 | 00:00
Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan yesterday said the tender schedule of the much-awaited New Mooring Container Terminal of Chittagong Seaport will be finalised within March this year after removing all administrative bottlenecks.
"The port authority will hand over the NCT operational activity to a qualified private operator after completion of tender process and selection of operator through competitive bidding within next three months as we have instructed the authority concerned to finalise the bidding process within March 31 this year," he said.
The New Mooring Container Terminal will be able to handle annually about one million TEUs of container, businesses said adding that the bureaucratic tangles over tender schedule of the NCT has caused immeasurable loss of revenue to the Port Authority and government itself.
The minister further said that the country's prime maritime port of Chittagong has been suffering a lot due to shortage of workforce and the problem will be resolved within May, 2012.
Tender processing of the Pangaon port in Dhaka will be completed soon and the port will start commissioning by this year, he told journalists at a press briefing after a meeting with the port users at Chittagong Circuit House this afternoon.
He, however, ignored a suggestion by the port users for empowering the country's premier maritime port with all executive authority facilitating smooth cargo handling without unnecessary interference of the shipping and other concerned ministries.
The business representatives opined that Chittagong Port should be given more authority to execute the decisions taken by the CPA Board after quick disposal of bidding process. Qualified private operators should be engaged without further delay so that the people can draw maximum facilities from the natural port, they observed.
The minister said the port is enjoying more authority than before and the government is only ensuring accountability of the CPA in procuring equipment for cargo handling unlike in the past.
"There was no accountability of the Port Authority in the past. We have ensured the accountability which is very vital because the port is running with people's money," the minister said when asked about the proposed empowerment of the port.
Today was the fifth meeting of the port Advisory Committee attended by representatives from different trade bodies and business associations, district administration, Chittagong City Corporation and the CMP (metropolitan police).
Chaired by the Minister Shahjahan Khan the function was addressed, among others, by JS Standing Committee member on Shipping Ministry Shamsul Huq Chowdhury, MP, Moinuddin Khan Badal, MP, City Mayor Manjur Alam, Shipping Ministry Secretary Abdul Mannan Hawladar, Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong Foyez Ahmed, CMP Commissioner Abul Kashem, newly appointed chairman of the CPA Commodore M Nizamuddin, acting president of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mahbubul Alam, president of Chittagong Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Khalilur Rahman, vice president AM Mahbub Chowdhury, BGMEA first vice president Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, FBCCI member SM Nurul Huq, former first vice president of BGMEA Ershad Ullah and members of the CPA Board.
Among the stakeholders of the Port Alhaj Khalilur Rahman, Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, Mahbubul Alam, SM Nurul Huque and AM Mahbub Chowdhury alleged that the businesses have been suffering a lot as the port authority cannot function smoothly due to bureaucratic bottleneck.
"The file regarding tender floating of the New Mooring Container Terminal has been returned to the CPA as many as seven times in just one year since March 2011 when the Evaluation Committee for tenders comprising the government officials and business representatives have finalised the procedures," SM Nurul Huq told the media at the Circuit House after coming out of the meeting.
Mahbubul Huq, acting president of the CCCI said the port authority currently enjoys very little authority as it enjoyed initially. He suggested turning the CPA into the Chittagong Port Trust with sufficient power to handle the port activities independently under an efficient management.
Nasiruddin Chowdhury said the government has further squeezed the working power of the Port Authority. The CPA could earlier take projects worth Tk 240 million but it now takes projects below Tk 100 million, he said.
"How will the country's premier port run if it is not fully authorised to spend any amount of money for its infrastructure development and procurement of equipment badly needed to operate the port smoothly," he posed a question.
Source: The Financial Express