Port of Chittagong

Port of Chittagong

Port of Chittagong
Country Bangladesh
Location Chittagong, Chittagong Division
Coordinates 22°18′47″N 91°48′00″E / 22.313°N 91.800°E / 22.313; 91.800Coordinates: 22°18′47″N 91°48′00″E / 22.313°N 91.800°E / 22.313; 91.800
Opened 1887
Operated by Chittagong Port Authority
Owned by Government of Bangladesh
Annual cargo tonnage 43.37 million (2012-13)[1]

The Port of Chittagong (Bengali: চট্টগ্রাম বন্দর) is the largest seaport in Bangladesh, located by the estuary of the Karnaphuli River in Patenga, near the city of Chittagong. Historically, it is the most important port of Bangladesh and has been playing an essential part in the economic development of the country.[2][3] It is a deep water seaport dominated by trade in containerised manufactured products (especially garments, jute and jute goods, leather products, fertilizers and seafood), raw materials and to a lesser extent passengers.

Window berthing system was introduced at the seaport on 6 August 2007, enabling the sea port to provide the arrival and departure times of all ships. Two berths at the port terminal are kept in reserve for emergency. In 2011, the port handled 43 million tonnes of cargo and 1.4 million tonnes of containers.[4] The port handled 1.5 million TEUs (twenty equivalent units) containers in 2010-11, up from 1.2 million TEUs in the previous year, according to the CPA Traffic Department. Port of Chittagong is ranked as world's 90th busiest port in the world in 2013.[5]


Elephant loading in Chittagong port (1960)

The history of Chittagong port dates back to the fourth century B.C. Malayan history chronicles the journey of the sailor Buddha Gupta from Chittagong to Malaya in the 4th century B.C.[6] The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea documents the existence of Chittagong port in the ancient times. The Arab traders considered Chittagong to be the delta of the Ganges.

Chittagong port has been mentioned in the works of Ptolemy, Fa-hien, Hieu-en tsng, and Ibn Battuta.[7] This was an important port used by the traders from the Middle East, China, Turkey, Europe to trade with this part of the world.

Arab traders who arrived in the 8th century played a pivotal role in the spread of Islam in Bengal.[8] During the 9th century the activities of the port increased tremendously as the Arab traders started using the port. They used to call the port "Samunda". The port was under their control at the time. In the 15th century the port served as an important place for the re-export of goods produced in China.[9]

The 16th century saw the arrival of the Portuguese. The Arakan Kingdom provided permission to the Portuguese and used them as a buffer against Mughal Empire.[10] The Portuguese engaged in Piracy, Slavery and forced conversion in the region.[11] João da Silveira was the first Portuguese Captain to reach the port.[12] He arrived with his ship Lopo Soana in 1517. The Portuguese named the port "PORTO GRANDE" (a great Port ). The records show that the Porto Grande offered easy access and safe anchorage to ships of 20 feet draught. In 1552 De Barros described Chittagong as the "most famous and wealthy city in Bengal" due to the port of Chittagong which was responsible for all trade in the region.[13] Chittagong port was an vital port to the Arakan Kingdom.The Arakanese lost it to the Mughal empire in 1660s. The loss of the port reduced the fortunes of the Kingdom.[14]

19th century

It remained a port during Moghul time. Later in early 19th century the British took control of the Chittagong port.The port of Chittagong became a natural outlet for the Northeastern regions of the then British-India that led to the enactment of Port Commissioner’s Act of 1887. At that time the facilities of the port consisted of five wooden and one pontoon jetties. In the year 1889-90 the port handled exports totalling 1.25 lac tons.[15] There was an increase in trade between the port of Chittagong and Naraingunge.[16]

20th century

Port of Chittagong taken from beside the Karnaphuli River.

The British upgraded the port and increased efficiency.[17] During World War 2 the port faced aerial bombardment from the Japanese.[18] During Bangladesh Liberation war in 1971 the Pakistan Navy mined the approaches to the port. After the end of Bangladesh Liberation War, Rear Admiral of Indian navy S. H. Sarma was made Chairman of Chittagong Port Trust. He took over the position from the acting Chairman Kibria. He worked to get the port to working order. The Port had been damaged by bombing of the Indian Air Force. He also ensured that all outbound vessels were checked to eliminate the possibility of Pakistani military personnel escaping by sea. The Shipping Corporation of India used this port to transport 13 thousand Pakistani POWs to India. Admiral Zuenkhov and personnel of the Soviet Navy carried out mine sweeping operations in the port area.[19]


The year 2000 had the highest number of Piracy attacks in the recorded history of Chittagong. Many of the raids resulted in the theft of mooring lines and Zinc anode and other movable ship equipments. Chittagong Port has experienced piracy in recent times.[20] In 2005 it had the highest pirate attacks in a port area in the world. The Government of Bangladesh has increased Navy and Coast Guard presence in the area.[21]


Chittagong port (1960)
General Cargo Berths: 12
Container Berths: 8
Dolphin Oil Jetty (For POL): 1
Grain Silo Jetty: 1
Cement Clinker Jetty: 1
TSP Jetty: 1
CUFL Jetty: 1
KAFCO Urea Jetty: 1
Ammonia Jetty: 1
Dry Dock Jetty: 2
River Mooring: 10
Jetty Berths (For (POL): 1
Concrete Berth (For Grain Handling): 1
Pontoon Berths (For POL): 3
Pontoon Berths (For Cement): 1
Single Point Mooring: 10

See also


  1. "Economic Importance". Chittagong Port Authority. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  2. MD. Abdul Kader. "The Role of Chittagong Port in the Economy of Bangladesh". Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  3. "Deep seaport dilemma in Bangladesh". Dhaka Tribune. 2016-06-08. Retrieved 2016-09-08.
  4. "Statistical Information". Chittagong Port Authority. Archived from the original on 9 January 2015.
  5. "Little change in this year's top 100 world container port rankings". 4 September 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  6. "Historical Background". Chittagong Port Authority.
  7. Cloer, Deena (5 October 2014). Ultimate Handbook Guide to Chittagong : (Bangladesh) Travel Guide. Sam Enrico Williams. pp. 7–.
  8. Kabeer, Naila (1 August 2002). The Power to Choose: Bangladeshi Women and Labour Market Decisions in London and Dhaka. London: Verso. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-85984-206-5.
  9. Pletcher, Kenneth, ed. (2011). The history of India (1st ed.). New York: Britannica Educational Pub. in association with Rosen Educational Services. pp. 132–133. ISBN 978-1-61530-122-5.
  10. Lach, Donald F.; Van, Edwin J. (15 July 2008). Asia in the Making of Europe, Volume I: The Century of Discovery (3 ed.). University of Chicago Press. pp. 551–552. ISBN 978-0-226-46708-5.
  11. Bernier, François (19 May 2011). Travels in the Mogul Empire. Translated by Brock, Irving. Cambridge University Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-1-108-07328-8.
  12. Roy, Kaushik (2014). Warfare in pre-British India, 1500 BCE to 1740 CE. New York: Routledge. p. 185. ISBN 0-415-52979-4.
  13. O'Malley, L. S. S. (16 June 2011). Holland, T. H., ed. Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa Sikkim. Provincial Geographies of India. Cambridge University Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-107-60064-5.
  14. Wright, Ashley (2014). Opium and empire in Southeast Asia : regulating consumption in British Burma. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 22. ISBN 0-230-29646-7.
  15. Tauheed, Q S (1 July 2005). "Forum for planned Chittagong's search for its conservation -I". The Daily Star. Dhaka. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  16. Willis's Current notes. London: G. Willis. 1886. p. 16.
  17. Ziegler, S. Shahid Hamid ; with a foreword by Philip; Willey, preface by Peter (1993). Disastrous twilight : a personal record of the partition of India (2nd ed.). London: Published by the author in association with Leo Cooper. ISBN 0850523966.
  18. Bayly, Christopher; Harper, Tim (2004). Forgotten armies : the fall of British Asia, 1941-1945 (1st paperback ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 448. ISBN 9780674017481.
  19. Sarma, S. H. (2001). My Years at Sea. New Delhi: Lancer Publishers. pp. 192–202. ISBN 978-81-7062-121-8.
  20. Ellerman, Bruce A.; Forbes, Andrew; Rosenberg, David (10 September 2011). Piracy and Maritime Crime: Historical and Modern Case Studies. Lulu.com. pp. 123–125. ISBN 978-1-105-04225-6.
  21. Hill, Peter Corbet. Inclusions by: Peter (2009). A modern plague of pirates : modern piracy in the 21st Century ; protect your ship and your crew ; a practical guide for avoiding contemporary piracy on the high seas ([Version 1.3 updated February 2009] ed.). East Mersea: Offshore and Marine Publ. p. 27. ISBN 9780956210708.
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