The largest port in Bangladesh plans to expand operations using Saudi funding

June 27, 2023
The largest port in Bangladesh plans to expand operations using Saudi funding As talks for Riyadh's newest investment in the South Asian country get underway, officials told Arab News that Bangladesh is counting on Saudi experience to handle a newly built terminal in the country's major port. The Bangladeshi Ministry of Shipping chose Red Sea Gateway Terminal, a Saudi port developer, to run the brand-new $240 million Patenga Container Terminal in Chittagong Port, making it the first foreign corporation to accept Dhaka's offer to run its ports. “RSGT will operate the newly built Patenga Container Terminal,” Abul Bashar, director-general of programming and investment promotion in Bangladesh’s Public Private Partnership Authority, told Arab News. According to Bashar, this is the first time the government has given a foreign business the opportunity to run the biggest port in the nation. “Hopefully, by the end of this year, RSGT will be able to take over the terminal operations,” he added. The Patenga terminal, which accounts for between 5 and 7 percent of Chittagong's total activities and is managed by the Chittagong Port Authority, will be outfitted, run, and maintained by RSGT as part of the anticipated agreement. The activities of Patenga will be taken over by the Saudi business for 22 years. According to Bashar, the first two years would be spent setting up and installing equipment. He also stated that Dhaka anticipates RSGT to "use all ultra-modern equipment and technology." Bashar said: “RSGT has a proven track record in Saudi Arabia and other countries for managing port operations smoothly. “The Bangladeshi government believes that if a company like RSGT joins the port operations activities here, in the future there will also be an opportunity for technology transfer.” RSGT CEO Jens O. Floe previously said the company’s “proposed investment is a vote of confidence in Bangladesh’s future.” The Saudi firm also said Chittagong’s rapid growth and RSGT’s competencies are a good match. “The rapid growth of Chittagong Port’s cargo volumes necessitates further investment in modern equipment, advanced technology and building new human capacity. This project fits well with Red Sea Gateway Terminal’s competencies and its expansion strategy for emerging markets,” Gagan Seksaria, RSGT’s director of global investments, said in a statement issued last August. “We are very confident that, through this investment, we will be able to contribute significantly to Bangladesh’s fast-growing trade and economy.” The busiest container port on the Bay of Bengal is Chittagong Port, which in the fiscal year 2021 handled around 3.2 million 20-foot equivalent units and functioned as the primary entry point for Bangladesh's maritime cargo import and export. This includes items from the nation's apparel industry, which accounts for 11% of its gross domestic product and 80% of exports. Source: Arab News

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