World Bank Approves USD 650 Million for Bay Terminal Development in Bangladesh

In a significant move to bolster Bangladesh’s maritime infrastructure, the World Bank has approved a loan of USD 650 million to aid in the development of the Bay Terminal deep seaport in the southeastern region of Chattogram. This mega project is poised to be a game-changer for the country’s trade capabilities, enhancing its global competitiveness and operational efficiency.

The World Bank’s funding will be pivotal in constructing essential infrastructure for the Bay Terminal. Experts anticipate a reduction in import and export costs as port operations get streamlined and the terminal attracts more private investment. The Bay Terminal’s development is seen as a critical step towards modernizing Bangladesh’s port facilities, which have been struggling to keep pace with the increasing demands of international trade.

The Bay terminal project will be a game changer. It will improve Bangladesh’s export competitiveness through enhanced port capacity and reduced transportation cost and time, opening new opportunities to key global markets.

Abdoulaye Seck, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan

The Bay Terminal project is ambitious in scope, with plans to build two container terminals – a multipurpose terminal, and an oil and gas terminal. These facilities are expected to transform the region into a major maritime hub, facilitating a smoother flow of goods and boosting economic activity.

One of the notable aspects of the Bay Terminal Marine Infrastructure Development Project, which the World Bank had earlier committed to finance, is its focus on climate resilience.

The project includes the construction of a 6-kilometer-long breakwater designed to shield the harbor from waves, currents, and extreme weather conditions. Additionally, comprehensive dredging operations will be carried out to maintain and enhance the depth of the port basin, entrance, and access channels. This focus on sustainability and resilience is crucial, given the increasing threats posed by climate change to coastal and marine infrastructure.

The Bay Terminal’s location is strategically chosen to maximize its impact. Situated in Anandangar near the Sandwip channel, west of the Chattogram port, it is in close proximity to existing road and rail links to Dhaka. This positioning will facilitate efficient connectivity and integration with the national transportation network, ensuring seamless movement of goods to and from the port.

The terminal is expected to handle approximately 36% of Bangladesh’s container volumes, significantly alleviating the congestion currently faced by the Chattogram port. This increase in capacity is anticipated to boost trade efficiency and reduce the turnaround time for ships, making Bangladesh a more attractive destination for international shipping lines.

According to the World Bank, the new and modern Bay Terminal, to be operated by leading international terminal operators, will accommodate larger size vessels (such as Panamax vessels) and substantially decrease vessel turnaround time, potentially saving the economy about USD 1 million daily. Currently, the Chittagong Port – which is the maritime gateway for over 90% of Bangladesh’s international trade volume and 98% of its container traffic – can only receive small feeder vessels during limited hours of the day.

The development of the Bay Terminal is more than just an infrastructure project – it represents a strategic economic initiative for Bangladesh. By enhancing port capacity and operational efficiency, the terminal is expected to drive economic growth, create jobs, and stimulate investment in the region. The project aligns with the country’s broader economic goals of becoming a middle-income country and integrating more deeply into the global economy.

As Bangladesh continues to grow as a significant player in global trade, projects like the Bay Terminal are essential in supporting its aspirations and ensuring economic progress. With the anticipated improvements in port efficiency and capacity, Bangladesh is well on its way to transforming its maritime sector and strengthening its position in the global supply chain.

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