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Bangladesh keen to shift more boxes by river

Dhaka: The government has taken steps to transport containers through waterways aiming to reduce time, cut cost of exporters and importers and lessen pressure on road.??"The government wants to transport at least 50 per cent of containers through waterways and it will reduce cost by about 30 per cent and time by a day," said a shipping ministry official.??Pangaon river container terminal, a government project at Pagla, will be operational by December and Rupayun, a private company, has got the approval to set up another river terminal in Narayanganj, he said.??The government will set up more terminals -- one in Khanpur under public-private partnership -- and AK Khan Group and Kumudini Trust has already submitted proposals to set up two other terminals in Narayanganj area, he added.??"When all the terminals become operational, it is expected that they can handle over 0.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) containers in a year," the official said.??Currently, the Chittagong port handles about one million TEUs containers.??The BIWTC has already ordered to build two inland water container vessels and will also have two other ships to carry containers from the river terminals to Chittagong Port, said a BIWTA official.??More private sector vessels will also join the fleet as it will be very lucrative business, he said.??The Pangaon terminal, a joint venture between BIWTA and Chittagong Port, is likely to handle about 0.115 million TEUs at the initial stage and it will reach 0.16 million TEUs capacity, he added.  [26/05/10]

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