Chittagong - Economy and Development

Economy and Development

See also: Economy of Bangladesh, Port of Chittagong, and Chittagong Stock Exchange

The sea-borne exports consist chiefly of ready made garments, knitwear, frozen food, jute and jute products, leather and leather products, tea, and chemical products. There is also a large trade by country boats, bringing chiefly cotton, rice, spices, sugar and tobacco. Sailing ships built in Chittagong include the Betsey, the Argo, and the Mersey. Ship breaking was introduced to the area in 1969. This industry is concentrated at Faujderhat, a 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) long beach 20 kilometres (12 mi) north-west of Chittagong. Chittagong is also home to a large number of industries from small to heavy. Around 40% of the heavy industrial activities of the country is located in Chittagong city and adjacent areas, which include drydocks, dock yards, an oil refinery, steel mills, power plants, cement clinker factoriess, automobile industry, pharmaceutical industry, chemical plants, Cable manufacturing, textile manufacturing, jute mill, urea fertilizer factory along with other private sector medium size industrial developments and activities.

Currently, there are three export processing zones (EPZ) in Chittagong, two state owned and another private. The main Chittagong Export Processing Zone, operated by the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA), is the largest export processing zone in Bangladesh with 453 acres of land, located in South Halishahar. In June 2010, the London-based magazine The Financial Times ranked it the 3rd Best Cost Competitive Zone in the world and the 4th in the Best Economic Potential for Fiscal Year 2010-11. Karnaphuli Export Processing Zone, also operated by BEPZA, is located in North Patenga, with an area of 222 acres. The other private EPZ Korean Export Processing Zone was established and operated by a South Korean company Youngone Corporation. The Korean Export Processing Zone and is expected to attract foreign direct investment worth $1 billion.

The city of Chittagong had been long neglected by the Bangladeshi government, until around 2000 when exports grew by 21.13% to an all time high of $8.02 billion. Chittagong is the site of Bangladesh's busiest port which handles 80% of all Bangladeshi imports and exports. The strategic location of the port has allowed for interest by investors to help improve the city.

Most of the International trading are believed to be done from Khatunganj, Asadganj & Chaktai area. The Sawdagars (Traditional local merchants) of Chittagong still control the entire Bangladesh Market in this import oriented country. Agrabad is often known as Chittagong's chief commercial region. All major banks like HSBC, Standard Chartered, Citibank, Mercantile Bank Limited, Premier Bank Limited, Dutch Bangla Bank, BRAC Bank, Dhaka Bank Limited, Bangladesh Bank, Eastern Bank, Sonali Bank, Rupali Bank and all other banks operating in Bangladesh have offices in and around the city. Numerous investments have allowed for a construction boom similar to Dhaka. Over the years, scores of hotels, shopping malls, and other modern buildings have sprung up to change the face of the city. Ongoing developments include various multi-story shopping malls and a Chittagong World Trade Centre.

In 2000, manufacturing industry of Chittagong contributed 15% of the total GDP. According to CityMayors Statistics Chittagong registered a tremendous GDP of $25.5 billion in 2010 with an annual growth rate of 6.3%. It is estimated that in 2020 the GDP of Chittagong will be $39 billion.

The Chittagong Stock Exchange was established in 1995 as the second stock exchange in Bangladesh. It is located in the commercial area of Agrabad.

The Sangu field is located offshore Bangladesh, in the Bay of Bengal, approximately 40 km South West of Chittagong. The Sangu development comprises an offshore gas production platform, a subsea raw gas export pipeline, an onshore gas terminal and an LP pipeline. Coming onstream in June 1998 the Sangu development was the first offshore development for Bangladesh and provides gas for the national supplies grid where demand for gas is growing within the country’s major port, Chittagong.

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