The Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) has stepped into 132nd year today (Thursday).
The authority has chalked out a programme this year to celebrate its 132 years of forming a trust or an authority to manage the sea port, one of the oldest natural ports in the subcontinent and prime sea port of Bangladesh.
The port is currently handling the cargoes and containers under the management of the CPA.
To mark the occasion, the CPA will organise various programmes today. A reception will be accorded to the families of freedom fighter employees and staff of the CPA where they will be treated at a Mejban, a traditional feast thrown by Chittagonians on a specific occasion when invited persons are feted with delicious local cuisines, prepared under the supervision of Chittagonian chefs.
A press conference was arranged at Fazlur Rahman Munshi Hall of the CPA on Wednesday morning before the celebration programme.
CPA Chairman Rear Admiral Zulfikar Aziz addressed the conference.
He said a 1500-metre long multipurpose terminal will be constructed at the port and the construction work of the two container terminals with 800 metres long each will be completed at Bay Terminal within 2025.
The authority has also started the construction of truck terminals, yards and retraining wall, he noted.
Terming the port heart of Bangladesh's economy, he said: "We need the development of Chattogram sea port for increasing the export and import of our country."
He said the CPA handled more than 2.9 million containers of 20 foot-long each in 2018 while over 2.66 million containers (20 feet each) were handed at the port in 2017, a nine per cent increase in one year.
"Following the vision 2021 of the incumbent government, the Chattogram sea port will be the friendliest one for the users within the current year," he asserted.
The CPA chief said 92 per cent of the export and import of Bangladesh is being done through the Chattogram sea port. It handled 98 per cent of the export-import containers in the country in the current year, he mentioned.
It has become a big challenge for the CPA to manage the handling of an increasingly large number of containers, he observed.
"We have already taken many plans including short term, mid-term and long term ones for making the Chattogram port most modern one to meet the challenges of the future," he told the reporters.
As per directives of the government the CPA has started (smoothly the operation of) the New-mooring Container Terminal (NCT) by procuring more equipment while more new equipment will be added to the CPA very soon, Rear Admiral Zulfikar said.
He urged to all to extend their cooperation for continuing the smooth operation of the port.
Secretary of CPA Omar Faruk, members Jafar Alam, Commodore Khondokhar Akter Hossain and other high officials were also present at the press briefing.
Chattogram Port is situated in the estuary of Karnaphuli River, which originates in the hills north-east of the Chattogram Hill Tracts and flows into the Bay of Bengal.
The main features of the port are: It provides a deep-water anchorage a few miles inland from the Bay of Bengal. The steering distance is 16 kilometre from the outer bar on the Bay to the main berths on the bank of Karnaphuli.
The location of the port and its natural harbour made it an important centre of trade and business as far back as the 9th century AD when Arab merchants found it to be a lucrative centre for trade.
By the beginning of the 15th century, the port of was an important trading centre. Chinese Chronicler Ma Huan, who visited Chattogram in 1405 with a Chinese mission, referred to 'Chit-le-Gan' as a port frequented by Chinese trading vessels.
The most frequent visitors to the port were the Arabs.
Among the Europeans, the Portuguese were the first to arrive at Chattogram. The Portuguese tried twice, without success to capture Chattogram, first in 1517 under John de Silviera and again in 1527 under Alfonso-de-Millo.
Finally they secured it and Satgoan, from Mahmud Shah, the ruler of Bengal, in return for helping him against Sher Shah Suri.
Under the Portuguese, Chattogram prospered and became a commercial centre acquiring the title of 'Porto Grande', the great port. In 1665-66 Shaista Khan, a subahdar and a general in the Mughal army who was a maternal uncle to Emperor Aurangzeb, led the Mughal viceroy of Bengal and his soldiers advanced to the Chattogram port and took it by storm.
Modernisation of the port began in 1971 and it was developed as a modern port with the birth of Bangladesh when trades expanded significantly.
To cope with the rapid development and expansion of global trade, the government of Bangladesh promulgated the Chattogram Port Authority Ordinance in 1986, dissolving the 'Port Trust'.
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