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Deep-sea port to improve maritime connectivity, trade capacity in BD

Our Special Correspondent | December 08, 2021 00:00:00

Work on the dream-project Deep-sea Port in the Bay of Bengal at Matarbari in Cox's Bazar is going on in full swing now. After the pandemic of corona, the construction work is continuing without break now. As a result, the project is likely to be completed within 2025, heralding an epoch change in Bangladesh's shipping operations, said sources concerned.

After completion of the deep-sea port under the management of Chittagong Seaport, export-import trade and maritime connectivity of Bangladesh are expected to see a sea change for the better. It will enhance the total capacity of Chittagong Port for handling several times more cargoes and containers.

Sources said the Matarbari seaport was originally built for Matarbari coal-fired power plant and thereafter the government decided to turn it into a deep-sea port. Works for the project, costing Tk 17,775 crore, were undertaken on November 16, 2020. The new deep-sea port will be first of its kind in Bangladesh. The port is planned to reduce pressure on the Chittagong seaport. During the first stage, one 300-metre-long multipurpose terminal, and another 460- metre-long container terminal is planned to be constructed by 2026. The navigation channel will be 350 metres in length with a maximum permissible draught of 16 metres. Ships with the capacity of 8,000-TEUS containers will be able to berth.

The container terminal will be built on 18 hectares, and have an annual capacity of 600,000 to 1.1 million TEUS. Later, the terminal will be expanded up to 70 hectares, with 1,850-metre berth and 2.8-million-TEUS capacity.

Member of Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) and Project Director of the Deep Sea Port Mohammed Jafar Alam said, "We signed agreement with Nippon Koei Company on September 23 last. Formally they started their work on November 16 last year (2020)."

He adds: "To build a deep-sea port to expand the capacity of Chittagong port was the demand of time. Our Prime Minister declared a role model for blue economy and deep-sea port at Matarbari is being constructed as per the model. After completing the construction of Deep Sea Port at Matarbari, a new economic belt will be developed from Dhaka to Cox's Bazar which will enrich our economy."

They are hoping to open the deep-sea port in 2025.

After completion of the project, ships loaded with 8000 to 1000 containers can berth at the deep-sea port. "Primarily, we are making the design to handle around 8 lakh containers while the capacity of handling containers will be increased in future."

He says the process of setting up the deep-sea port is progressing day by day. They have already almost completed the construction of channel in the sea area. They will expand the constructed channel later as per plan.

"The existing yearly container-handling capacity of the Chittagong Port is 3.1 million TEUS of containers. The growing demand will exceed the existing handling capacity within next year. We have to increase the handling capacity by more 4 billion TEUS within 2033. Mongla and Payra ports will not be able to meet the growing demand, he adds.

"So, Matarbari and Bay Terminal are likely to be the solution. The Matarbari Port is likely to add 2.0 per cent to 3.0 percent to GDP in the country's economy," he says about the economic prospects of the massive deep-sea port.

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