French shipping company CMA CGM has joined the race to operate Bangladeshi port terminals like many of its global peers.
Three top regional bosses of CMA CGM met the Chittagong Port Authority chairman and other top officials on 13 March and proposed to operate the Bay Terminal and Matarbari deep-sea port, when they are ready.
Laurent Olmeta, the Asia Pacific CEO for CMA CGM Group, Amish Shah, Head of Network CNC, and T Sivakumar, Managing Director of Bangladesh for CMA CGM Group were in the company’s delegation who met the port officials.
They visited Bangladesh on the occasion of announcing the launching of a new direct service, named Bangladesh India Gulf Express (BIGEX) from Chittagong.
A senior CMA CGM official said the port authority responded “positively” to the CMA CGM’s plea for terminal operation and asked them to submit a formal proposal.
“Yes, our Asia Pacific CEO and Network Head of Intra Asia service & MD of Bangladesh visited the port about launching our new service to the Middle East and also opportunity to explore upcoming new port terminals in Bay and Matarbari,” said a CMA CGM spokesperson.
Both the Bay Terminal and the Matarbari deep-sea port are at the construction stage. The main navigation channel of the deep-sea port is ready for plying ships while the Chittagong Port Authority plans to make the deep-sea port operational by 2026.
Construction of the Bay Terminal in Chittagong is scheduled to begin in June this year. The government, last year, appointed two Korean firms, Kunhwa Engineering and Consulting Company Limited and Dian Yang Construction and Engineering Company Limited, to prepare a detailed design of the terminal.
Bangladesh has already opened its port sector operations for foreign companies thus many of the globally acclaimed port operators have thronged here to secure contract in the country’s logistic sector.
Already, one foreign port operator, Saudi Arabian Red Sea Gateway Terminal, has been given go ahead and signed a concession deal this week for operating the newly built Patenga Container Terminal.
The government may lease out some more existing terminals of the Chittagong port to foreign operators in a bid to bring competition, improve services, and break the monopoly of local companies. Among the foreign operators which so far expressed to invest in the Bangladeshi logistics sector and operate port terminals include AP Møller-Maersk, DP World, Red Sea Gateway Terminal, Adani Ports and SEZ Limited, and PSA Singapore.