Indispensable Element of National Economy
Chittagong Port has very rightly been called the heart of the national economy that has been playing a pivotal role in the export-import trade of the country. If Chittagong Port is considered the ‘heart of economy’, the private Inland Container Depots (ICDs) or the Dry Ports, also called the Off-docks, are to be termed the principal arteries and veins to that heart without which heart would stop pumping blood. If we care to take a glimpse at the statistics, the growth of container traffic through Chittagong Port has been quite considerable and it will remain so or more in the coming years and it goes without saying that it is a very strong indicator of economic growth. Now there has hardly been any expansion in Chittagong Port in the last decade and so the question that inevitably comes is how Chittagong Port has coped with this huge container traffic growth. The simple reply is: private ICDs. It is the private ICDs that have worked in strong coordination with Chittagong Port and kept this heart of economy beating in a healthy and sustainable way.
100% handling of export goods that used to take place in Chittagong Port is now being done by the Private ICDs that include exportable RMG products worth USD 28 billion as well as other goods like jute and jute products, leather, tea, vegetable, beverage, handy crafts, bamboo, fabric, broken plastic, ceramic, scrap, sugar, chemical, building material, ship spare parts etc. Apart from this, private ICDs handle 25% of the total containerized imported goods that come through Chittagong Port. The last but not the least, these ICDs store a huge volume of empty containers (collectively almost ten times the volume usually stored by Chittagong Port) which plays a very significant role in keeping the export-import trade running.
Given the involvement of the ICDs in the operational activities of Chittagong Port as its associate entities, the contribution of the ICDs to the dynamism of Chittagong Port is undeniably laudable.