State Minister for Shipping, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, said traders will be able to import through the first terminal of Payra Port by the middle of next year.
"The prime minister inaugurated the capital dredging work of Payra Port and eight new ships, as well as laid the foundation stone for the construction work of the first terminal, a six-lane road, and a bridge" he said, speaking as the chief guest at a round table meeting organised by the Daily Ittefaq at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
He also said efforts are being made to reduce congestion at Chattogram port and encourage domestic and foreign investment.
"Work is being done to transport goods between the Chattogram, Mongla, and Payra ports by sea to reduce pressure on the roads. Work at the Matarbari Deep Sea Port, Patenga Container Terminal, and the Bay-Terminal are also progressing," added the state minister.
In his keynote presentation, Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association Senior Vice Chairman, Syed Iqbal Ali Shimul, discussed the many issues shipping agents are facing.
Shipping entrepreneurs said the industry is under threat because they cannot pay dues to foreign shipping companies due to the dollar crisis.
Various shipping lines are owed more than $150 million, they said.
They expressed concern that if the shipping lines decide to restrict their business, it will have a considerable disruptive effect on import-export activities and called upon the authorities concerned to facilitate the remittance process.
In response, the state minister said the government has changed the bureaucratic complexity and reduced the communication gap.
"You can now talk to any secretary. It is the government's job to resolve crises and we will surely solve this through discussion," he said, adding that the current government is optimistic about successfully navigating through the current economic crunch.