United Aygaz LPG Ltd, a sister concern of the United Group, has started unloading liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from vessels at a private jetty for the first time in Chattogram.
On 11 September, the first cargo vessel Da Nang Gas arrived at the jetty with 2,500 tonnes of LPG.
People concerned said the company built the 200-metre jetty on the south bank of the Karnaphuli River for its power generation plant.
Earlier, ships with fuel oil used to arrive at this jetty. This is the first time that the jetty is being used to unload LPG, they said.
The jetty with a 13-metre draft is capable of handling vessels carrying a maximum of 25,000 tonnes of LPG.
Generally, companies store LPG in their mother tanks transporting it through pipelines from ships in outer anchorage. This procedure involves risk especially during adverse weather condition out at sea.
Mustafizur Rahman Jinnah, general manager of the United Group, told The Business Standard, "Unloading LPG during adverse weather conditions is very risky but this direct jetty unloading facility has reduced the risk. It will also reduce cost."
Another ship is scheduled to arrive at the jetty next month, he added.
According to United Group officials, 1,008 tonnes of LPG was unloaded from a vessel arriving from Malaysia on 11 September to the jetty. The rest of the LPG was unloaded at Mongla port.
The Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) has permitted the company to anchor LPG carrying ships on condition of ensuring all kinds of security measures as per the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.
Md Omar Farooq, secretary of Chattogram Port Authority, said, "United Group has built all kinds of facilities for LPG ships. This private jetty will reduce transportation costs and help address LPG shortage in the country."
United Group imports LPG from Malaysia for their bottling plant. In 2021, the company invested in its sister concern Aygaz LPG Ltd in Chattogram for this purpose. Currently, more than 2 lakh cylinders of the company are in the market.
Most of the private companies in the country are importing LPG through Mongla port.
There is a demand for about 15-20 lakh tonnes of LPG cylinders in Chattogram.
Six companies including United Aygaz, Total, BM Energy, Euro Petro Products, Universal LPG and Uni Gas import, bottle and market LPG in Chattogram with an investment of more than Tk5,000 crore. There is a demand for about 15-20 lakh tonnes of LPG in Chattogram.
Of 56 companies licensed for LPG business in the country, 30 are currently active in the market. Of these, 20 companies import directly. The sector has an investment of around $350 million.
Last year, 1.2 million tonnes of LPG was supplied to the country's market, with more than 98% of that done by private companies.