Category Archives: Transport, Construction, Civil Engineering, Logistics, Housing and Infrastructure

Dhaka eyeing $250m Turkish suppliers’ credit

Dhaka eyeing $250m Turkish suppliers’ credit
Author / Source : JAGARAN CHAKMA

DHAKA, June 2: Although most public-private partnership (PPP) projects still remain confined to drawing boards, the government is going to borrow US$ 250 million suppliers’ credit, as line of credit (LoC) from Turkey, to implement some of those planned projects. Sources in the Economic Relations Division (ERD) said that preliminary formalities, for the borrowing, have almost been completed. Türk Eximbank wants to give the USD 250 million LoC for implementing PPP projects, especially those in the infrastructure development sector, ERD sources said.

The Turkish government has already placed the proposal, raised by Türk Eximbank, at its cabinet meeting.

Earlier, on February 29, a meeting was held at the ERD, to discuss the framework of the agreement. Sources added that a two-member delegation of Türk Eximbank will visit Dhaka, on June 11, to negotiate the issue. Türk Eximbank has already sent the draft framework agreement to ERD. The two eximbank officials who will visit Dhaka, to negotiate the deal, are assistant general manager (buyers’ credits), Alaaddin Metin, and assistant manager (in charge of Bangladesh), Suzan Usta.

Earlier on April 24, the Türk Eximbank wrote to the councellor of Bangladesh embassy in Turkey, Shah Asif Rahman, saying, “The loan facility will be provided in accordance with the preference of government of Bangladesh. The selection of the projects, as well as, experts or construction firms, will be managed by the Bangladesh side.”

The bank also wrote, “As Türk Eximbank borrows on floating rates, all of our loans are also offered at floating rates. The rate offered to Bangladesh, and for any other party, are determined in such a way that they do not go below the cost of borrowing of Türk Eximbank.”

According to the draft framework agreement prepared by the finance ministry of Bangladesh, the credit facility would be made available by Türk Eximbank to the borrower, in order to finance 85 per cent of the goods and services that would be exported from Turkey to Bangladesh, under the LoC, to be issued by a bank nominated by the borrower, to Turkish commercial bank, in favour of the Turkish exporters.

It also said, “The goods, to be exported, should have a minimum Turkish component of 50 per cent.” According to a message faxed to the Bangladesh mission in Turkey, on April 29, the rate of interest and repayment period are: Libor plus 3.5%, with up to 10 years maturity, including grace period for construction projects undertaken by Turkish contractors; and Libor plus 3%, with up to 5 years maturity, for capital goods exported from Turkey to Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) and Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DCCI) has asked the government to use the Turkish LoC towards establishing economic zones, ETP plants under BSCIC or ministry of industries, an industrial zone in Savar, coal-based power plants, composite garments or tannery projects whose finished products can be sold back to Turkey, and water supply and sanitation units.

The Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal year has included 10 public-private partnership (PPP) projects, in sectors ranging from communications to energy.
Seven of the 10 projects are under the communications sector. Four are under the roads division—the Dhaka Elevated Expressway, a second Padma bridge between Paturia and Goalundo, Dhaka-Ashulia Elevated Expressway, and a tunnel under the Karnaphuli river.

Three are related to the railway—a double-line dual-gauge track on the second Bangabandhu Bridge, a rail line from Dohazari to Cox’s Bazar, and a rail bridge from Fulchhari to Bahadurabad ghat.

The remaining three projects are under the energy sector—renovation and modernisation of the Eastern Refinery Limited, setting up an LPG cylinder, and accessories manufacturing plant at Elenga, and a 0.10 million tonne capacity LPG bottling plant, which includes import facilities, storage tanks, pipelines and jetty.


Surface plants to meet 70pc water demand

Surface plants to meet 70pc water demand
Says Dhaka Wasa MD
Staff Correspondent

Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) will be able to collect 70 percent water from surface water treatment plants within 2021, significantly reducing the dependency on the fast depleting underground water reserves, Managing Director Taqsem A Khan said yesterday.

“We have already taken a decision to increase the number of surface water treatment plants, considering the falling underground water level. We have taken four projects for this plan, while one was implemented and the rest will be executed gradually”, he said.

Dhaka Wasa is now collecting 87 percent water from the underground sources and only 13 percent from the surface water treatment plants, Taqsem told The Daily Star when asked.

Earlier, he told a seminar yesterday that Wasa shifted its focus from underground water treatment plants to surface water plants to protect the environmental balance.

Bangladesh Paribesh Andalon (Bapa) and Dhaka Wasa jointly organised the seminar, “Dhaka Wasa: activities, challenge and citizens’ expectations”, at the capital’s Cirdap auditorium.

Former chairman of Wasa and urban specialist Prof Nazrul Islam said Wasa must ensure proper supply of water before the people were forced into besieging its office.

He also suggested Wasa activities should be discontinued in Narayanganj, Tongi, and Gazipur, as these areas were now under city corporations. The services should not be extended also to Savar and Ashulia so that the city dwellers get more benefits, he added.

Speaking as a special guest, Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed, founder of Bishwa Sahitya Kendra, said the Wasa authorities should divide its activities into at least six or seven zones for improved services.

Although it seemed that Wasa activities have been making progress, Dhaka City Corporation and Rajuk’s performances are perhaps worsening gradually, he said.

Given that the underground water level has been going down two to three metres each year, it will be tough to live in Dhaka city in the near future due to a lack of water, said Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, lawmaker of Dhaka-11.

Addressing as chief guest, he urged the city dwellers to be more considerate in using water and requested not to make any waste.

Firoz Ahmed, a water resources expert, said that due to inefficient water distribution system of Wasa, there was a continued system loss, which eventually deprived people of water.

Bapa president ASM Shahjahan chaired the seminar, while representatives from some development organisations and Wasa also spoke.

Part of 4-lane highway to be ready by June

Part of 4-lane highway to be ready by June
M Abul Kalam Azad

The communications ministry is pushing hard to speed up the upgrade of Dhaka-Chittagong highway and complete at least part of the work by June.

The upgrade of 192-kilometre two-lane highway from Daudkandi to Chittagong into a four-lane one has remained stalled for about two years due to inept consultancy, frequent change of project director and intervention in land-filling work by some ruling party men, according to ministry sources.

Taking the helm at the ministry in December last year, Obaidul Quader has had meetings with the concessionaires and also has been paying regular visits to the project sites to monitor the progress of work.

In a recent meeting with them, the minister has set a June 30 deadline to complete the upgrade of 25-km part between Comilla and Feni districts.

Ministry officials are hopeful another 57-km of the widened highway would be ready by December.

“The minister is under pressure to perform. He is desperate to have at least a part of the upgraded highway opened by the prime minister at the earliest,” noted a senior official at the communications ministry.

Roads and Highways Department sources said expansion of the Dhaka-Chittagong highway, known as the country’s economic lifeline, was essential as the road cannot accommodate around 30,000 vehicles a day.

Besides, a five-hour long Dhaka-Chittagong trip now takes around double the time.

A Tk 2,382 crore project was initiated in 2006 to upgrade the highway in three years, but successive governments had failed to finalise the scheme.

The present government in January 2010 had entered deals with Chinese Sinohydro Engineering, and Bangladeshi Reza Constructions Ltd and Taher Brothers Ltd to widen the road.

Though the project finally started early last year, it never gained any momentum as the concessionaires faced problems in removing illegal structures along the highway and collecting earth for land-filling, claimed contractors.

Ministry officials said 64 per cent of the land-filling work has been completed so far while the rest would be done by May.

The construction of 145 culverts out of a total 220 has been completed and 17 small bridges are being built.

The ministry recently has inked a deal to build three overpasses at as many level crossings on the highway. Tenders have been floated for the construction of five large bridges.

“Now we don’t have any crisis and the upgrading work has been going on in full swing,” Project Director Ibne Alam Hasan told The Daily Star.

He hoped the project will be complete by next year if the current pace of progress continues.

ECNEC approves Tk 5,068 crore for seven development projects

ECNEC approves Tk 5,068 crore for seven development projects

DHAKA, Jan 3 (BSS) – The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) today approved seven development projects involving Taka 5,068 crore.

Of the projects, the major one is the Taka 3,912-crore Second Local Governance Support Project (LGSP-II), which will provide better services to people by strengthening the capacity of union parishads (UPs).

The approval was given at a meeting of the ECNEC, held in the NEC Conference room in city’s Sher-e- Bangla Nagar with ECNEC Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

“Of the total project cost, Taka 2,995 crore will come from the national exchequer while Taka 2,073 crore as project assistance,” said Planning Division Secretary Bhuiyan Shafiqul Islam while briefing reporters after the meeting. He said the Local Government Division will implement the project by July 2016.

Planning Ministry sources said World Bank (WB) would provide Taka 2,073 crore for the LGSP-II project when the rest would come from the national exchequer.

He said the project aims at ensuring an efficient, accountable and transparent local government system so people can be provided with need-based and better services. The first phase of the project was successfully completed in July 2006-June 2011 period.

During the second phase of the project, the UPs will get equal amount of fund from both the government and the WB, which will also be spent for developing rural communication and hat-bazar infrastructure, water supply and sanitation, education, health and agriculture.

Besides, massive training programmes will be arranged for organizational capacity building of the union parishad, involving social services departments of the government.

The ECNEC also approved the construction of 19 regional passport offices’ project with Taka 104 crore to make it convenient for the people to have their machine readable passport (MRP) from the nearby passport offices.

The committee also approved the construction of the Union Parishad Complex Bhaban (2nd phase) project with a cost of Taka 780 crore.

The other projects approved in the meeting are: Construction of Aviation Refueling Facilities at Sylhet Osmani International Airport (Revised) project (Taka 51 crore-GOB); Construction of Liquid Fuel System for Sirajganj 150 MW Peaking Power Plant (Revised) project (Taka 60 crore-GOB); Emergency rehabilitation & Expansion of Urban Areas Power Distribution system Under Rajshahi Zone (Revised) project (Taka 110 crore-GOB) and Construction of connecting road between Buriganga embankment and Mohammadpur Bus Stand under Dhaka City Corporation project (Taka 51 crore-GOB).

Ministers, advisers to the Prime Minister, members of the Planning Commission, secretaries and officials concerned were present at the meeting.

Move for 3rd sea port under PPP

Move for 3rd sea port under PPP

The government has taken an initiative to set up a third sea port under the public-private partnership (PPP) in southern region, possibly at Patuakhali coast, reports UNB.

According to official sources, a proposal has already been moved to the Cabinet Economic Affairs Committee for approval. “If the proposal is approved, a detailed feasibility study (DFC) will be made”, said a top official of the Shipping Ministry. Before the proposal was made they have conducted a study to determine the site for the port.

A 7-member committee headed by Chittagong Port Authority Chairman conducted the preliminary study last year and selected the Barnabad Channel at Patuakhali coast. On the basis of the preliminary feasibility report, the Shipping Ministry initiated the move for setting up the port.

Earlier, the Shipping Ministry had moved for setting up a deep sea port. But that move remained stuck up for unknown reason.

In the latest move, the Shipping Ministry mentioned in its proposal that it is necessary to set up a new port considering growing use of Chittagong port and the possible use of Mongla port after construction of the Padma Bridge.

“The country’s import and export has been growing by 20 percent per year most of which is being done through the Chittagong port. The Mongla port will face greater load when the Padma Bridge is completed. In such a situation, a third sea port is essential to meet the future demand,” said the proposal.

Govt plans big on Ctg port: PM

Govt plans big on Ctg port: PM
Hasina opens computerised container terminal management

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaks at the launch of a computerised container terminal management system and a radiation detection system at Chittagong Port yesterday.Photo: STAR

Unb, Chittagong

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said yesterday the government is working to make Chittagong Port a gateway of South Asia’s commercial hub.

“Steps are being taken to remove all the hassles facing by port users and ensure import-export activities with transparency,” Hasina said while inaugurating the computerised container terminal management system (CTMS) and radiation detection system at the port building in Chittagong.

Currently, more than 90 percent of the country’s export and import is done through the Chittagong Port.

The prime minister said bulk cargo handling has increased by 12 percent and the number of ship arrivals at the port went up by 8 percent during the last fiscal year.

She said the government has undertaken the task of constructing a deep-sea port at Sonadia in Cox’s Bazar to expand commercial activities in South Asia.

On completion of the deep-sea port, the lifestyle of the people of this region, including India, China and Myanmar, will improve, she added.

Hasina said dredging in the channel of the Pashur river will start soon to develop Mongla Port.

She said with the inauguration of the computerised CTMS and the radiation detector, the premier port has been digitalised replacing the manual management operation.

The prime minister said the Chittagong Port has been turned into a safe port in the world with the installation of the radiation detector with financial and technical cooperation from the US.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said illegal transportation of goods will be prevented through radiation pronunciation.

The Chittagong Port through its Mega Port Initiative has joined the international terrorism prevention activities.

Hasina said the Awami League-led government wants to root out terrorism and terrorists at any cost.

She said the improvement of service at the Chittagong Port to international standard will attract increased overseas investment and help expand trade and business.

“We want to become a maritime force in combination with Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Coastguard, and Bangladesh Shipping Corporation.”

The Prime Minister said the work on installing Global Maritime Distress and Safety System already began to ensure the protection of mariners and ships.

Besides, International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code has already been implemented.

According to the IMO Convention, she said, shipping and maritime culture has been built up in Bangladesh, which has emerged as a shipbuilding nation.

Bangladesh has been building and exporting oceangoing vessels to different countries, including Germany, Finland and Denmark, she added.

“The government has been able to build a peaceful and disciplined image of Bangladesh,” Hasina said, adding that those who were in power in the past had turned Bangladesh into a militant and extremist nation.

Mentioning the government’s firm commitment to turn Chittagong into the commercial capital of the country, Hasina said a tunnel would be built beneath the Karnaphuli river.

Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan and Chairman of Chittagong Port Authority Commodore Anwarul Islam also spoke on the occasion.

Port officials said container handling capacity of the port will double with the new system introduced that is sure to help ease the complete container handling process and make the stakeholders anxiety-free while tracing out their containers at the yard.

With the implementation of the CTMS, the operational activities of the import and export containers and payment of charges and dues will come under online networking system.

Under the new system, loading and unloading activities of the container ships at the port, shifting of containers in the yard, stacking, tracking, delivery and gate control will be conducted through online billing.

Partial operation of the CTMS system began at the port’s Chittagong Container Terminal and New Mooring Container Terminal on October 10 and at the general cargo berths on October 12 last.

The equipment that will be added to the handling capacity of the port include six straddle carriers, three container movers, 10 low-mast fork lifts and four rubber-tyred gantry cranes worth Tk 117 crore.

The import consignments from Finland, Germany, South Korea, Japan and the USA include equipment for bulk cargo handling as well.

Country’s biggest private ICD starts operation tomorrow

Country’s biggest private ICD starts operation tomorrow

CHITTAGONG, Dec 11 (BSS) – BM Container Depot Ltd. (BMCDL), the country’s biggest inland container handling company in private sector with an outlay of Taka 300 crore, will be inaugurated formally on Tuesday next.

The Inland Container Depot (ICD) facility has been developed with state-of-the-art technologies sprawling around 50 acres of lands in Shitalpur area under Sitakunda industrial belt beside the Dhaka-Chittagong highway, about 21 kilometer off from the Chittagong seaport.

The container depot has the capacity to handle around 10,000 Twenty Equivalent Units (TEUs) of empty and laden containers daily.

Shipping and port circle sources opined that development of such a big scale off-dock facility in private sector outside the port would help significantly the growing congestions of containers in port restricted areas as well as would ensure speedy, efficient and hassle-free containerized export-import trade.

BMCDL is a latest Netherlands-Bangladesh joint venture enterprise of RB Group — one of the country’s leading industrial conglomerates having huge investment in backward and forward linkage industries in garments and textile sectors, and textile that employs around 12,000 workforces.

The BMCDL has the high-speed Internet connection to let know the customers instantly real time cargo information and also equipped with modern fire fighting equipment, CCTV, standby power generation and adequate cargo and container handling tools that included modern ICD machineries and equipment like Reach Stackers, Empty Handlers, fork-lift truck, prime mover and laden container trailers.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Commerce Abul Kashem Master, MP, will attend the inaugural function as the chief guest while Ambassador, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Alphans Hennekens will attend the function as the special guest on the BMCDL premises.