Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT), one of the largest terminal operators in Saudi Arabia, is keen on making investments under public-private partnership to develop Bangladesh’s port infrastructure and maritime sector.
The RSGT has proposed investing in port infrastructure development and providing technical support for the existing Chattogram, Mongla and Payra ports, said Abdus Samad, secretary to the shipping ministry.
The Saudi firm, known internationally for world-class port terminal services, has built the newest flagship container terminal at Jeddah Islamic Port.
The secretary said the RSGT would prepare a plan for investment in multiple port-related infrastructure projects in Bangladesh and share operational expertise.
The Saudi company has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the shipping ministry to explore investment opportunities and provide expertise to Bangladesh.
“We are aiming to leverage Bangladesh’s geographic location between South and Southeast Asian countries to position the country as a key regional transport hub,” Samad said.
Bangladesh needs to expand its port facilities as economic activities are accelerating and export and import will increase in the next decade.
But the existing infrastructure and facilities will not be adequate when economic zones start operations within a few years, Samad said. “So, we need this type of investment.”
Chattogram Port, the main port of Bangladesh, handles 80 percent of the country’s export-import. In 2018 it dealt with three million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and about 3,700 vessel calls.
The secretary said the MoU was signed in relation to projects involving operations and optimisation of the existing berthing facility at Chattogram Port and new inland container services at the inland container depot in Pubail of Gazipur.
The RSGT may pursue the scope for opportunities in other Bangladeshi ports and identify mechanisms available for building projects and a strategic partnership.
Kazi M Aminul Islam, executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida), said more Saudi investment would flow in as Bida was trying to attract large amounts in foreign investment.
A number of investment proposals on infrastructure development from Saudi Arabia, China, Korea and other countries are in the pipeline, he said.
In a recent article on web portal Container Management, Gagan Seksaria, director of global investments at the RSGT, said, “Bangladesh’s remarkable trade-led growth of recent years has meant high utilisation of its port and transport infrastructure making it an ideal market for investment in advanced port systems and technology.”
The facility in Saudi Arabia has an annual capacity of 2.5 million TEUs. It is Jeddah’s only terminal that can accommodate next-generation container ships of up to 23,000-plus TEUs.
The RSGT is also located next to LogiPoint, Saudi Arabia’s first export and re-export zone, which provides an integrated logistics hub on the coast of the Red Sea and potential operational synergies in cargo handling, the article said.