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PM opens Matarbari deep seaport channel

PM opens Matarbari deep seaport channel

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday (Nov 11) inaugurated the Matarbari deep seaport's 14.3-kilometre-long artificial navigation channel, expected to be the economic life line of the country with contributing $ 2-3 billion to the national exchequer. She formally opened the channel and laid foundation stone of the construction of the first terminal of the port after unveiling the inaugural plaque at a programme held at the Matarbari Deep Sea Port area. The channel stretching from the proposed terminal to the sea and the terminal is targeted to start operations in 2026, at Matarbari under Maheshkhali Upazila of the district. A number of cabinet members including Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, senior Awami League leaders and other dignitaries were present while state minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury was present on the dais. Chairman of Chattogram Port Authority Rear Admiral Mohammad Sohail gave the address of welcome speech, local media reported.

A festive mood has been prevailing both in commercial capital, principal seaport Chattogram and tourist town Cox's Bazar. The people of Cox's Bazar has welcomed the PM whole heartedly with decorating the entire Cox's Bazar with posters, placards, festoons and banners inscribing various slogans welcoming the premier.

Construction of 460-meter long container jetty and 300-meter long multipurpose jetty with an 18.5-meter draft (underwater part of the ship) and various port facilities, including a container yard began on Saturday. This development will enable 8,000 to 10,000 container ships to directly access to the jetty.

The state-owned Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited (CPGCBL)  has already constructed channels and two jetties as part of the coal power project to pass 120 ships through this channel for the coal-fired power plants.

Matarbari Port Development Project aimed at establishing the nation's first and lone deep sea port was undertaken with a project duration extending until Dec 31, 2026. On Sep 20, CPGCBL handed over the responsibility of the channel to the CPA after it was created under the Matarbari Ultra Super Critical Coal Fired Power Project.

When Matarbari deep seaport goes into operation, it will add $ 2-3 billion to the country's economy as the transpiration cost of goods to and from Singapore and Colombo ports will be reduced by 10 to 20 percent.

The port will be a cornerstone of South Asia, ushering in new hopes for economic uplift and industrialization. This port is being constructed on an area of 1,031 acres along the shores of the Bay of Bengal to allow ships to be anchored there carrying containers with a capacity of 8,200 TEUs.

The port will be the life line of the country's economy as Bangladeshi businessmen will no longer have to wait at the ports of Singapore, Colombo and Malaysia for goods when Matarbari port will go into operation.

Currently, it takes 45 days to ship a product shipment from Bangladesh to America. Upon opening of the port, it will need just 23 days to reach this destination.

The construction of 14.30 km long approach channel with a width of 350 meters and a depth of 16 meters has been completed for the purpose of constructing a deep sea port. Also, the construction of 2,150-meter breakwater (wave barrier dam) on the northern side of the approach channel and 670-meter long on the southern side has been completed.

Matarbari terminal, once implemented, will be able to accommodate commercial vessels with a depth of 16 meters or more.

Earlier, Sheikh Hasina in another programme in Matarbari inaugurated 15 completed development projects, including Matarbari Ultra Super Critical Coal-Fired Power Project (2x600), and laid foundation stones of three other projects.

According to the project details, the work of connecting the National Highway with the Matarbari Port by constructing a 27.7 km road is also underway under the project.

Matarbari port development project has been undertaken for the establishment of the country's first and only deep sea port. The Japanese government through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide loan assistance for the construction of ports and roads.

The port will have the capacity to handle an estimated 0.6 to 1.1 million Twenty equivalent units (TEUs) by 2026 and an estimated 2.2 to 2.6 million TEUs by 2041.

Matarbari port development project was approved in the ECNEC meeting on Mar 10, 2020. The duration of the project is from January 2020 to Dec 31, 2026.

The project is being implemented by the Chattogram Port Authority of the Ministry of Shipping. Apart from this, the Department of Roads and Highways is constructing approach roads in the project area.