India Expresses Interest in Operating Bangladeshi Port

A ship in Mongla Port, Bangladesh
Updated Published

India is now aiming to operate neighbor Bangladesh's second seaport, Mongla, where both New Delhi and Beijing are also interested in investing in new terminal construction.

India has already secured transshipment rights at Bangladesh's seaports in Chittagong and Mongla to transport cargo to its landlocked northeastern states, avoiding a journey of over 1,650 kilometers.

In May, a delegation from India Ports Global Limited, led by Managing Director Sunil Mukundan, visited Mongla Port to inspect the facility and held discussions with senior port officials, expressing interest in operating the port.

“Yes, they came to visit our port and expressed interest to be involved in port operations,” confirmed a senior official of the Mongla Port Authority.

If negotiations are successful, Mongla will be India's third international port operation, following Chabahar Port in Iran and Sittwe in Myanmar, both managed by India Ports Global Limited.

The Indian company has been requested to submit a detailed written proposal to the Mongla Port Authority for consideration. The representative from Mongla Port Authority stated that the proposal would be evaluated upon receipt and, if deemed profitable, forwarded to the government for a decision.

However, the official noted that several weeks have passed without receiving the written proposal from the Indian state-run company. “Maybe they are calculating the pros and cons to prepare the proposal,” the spokesperson suggested.

Currently, Mongla Port operates five jetties handling container and bulk carrier vessels. Two additional jetties are under construction to accommodate the increased cargo volume due to transshipment facilities provided to India, Nepal, and Bhutan.

In 2015, India offered a $600 million line of credit to Bangladesh to upgrade Mongla port facilities, and a project was approved in 2018. In late 2022, the Mongla Port Authority signed an agreement with Egis India Consulting Engineers to advance the development works.

In 2016, China listed 27 Bangladeshi projects for funding, including a $400 million expansion and modernization of Mongla port facilities. Although China was slow to release the funds, in December 2022, Beijing informed Bangladesh of its readiness to proceed with the project.