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Bangladesh PM to open first-ever Matarbari Deep Seaport Channel

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CHATTOGRAM : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday (Today) will inaugurate Matarbari deep seaport’s 14.3-kilometre-long artificial navigation channel stretching from the proposed terminal to the sea and lay the foundation stone for the construction of the first terminal of the port which is targeted to start operations in 2026.

The Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) has completed all preparations for the opening of the channel. The premier will formally open the channel at Matarbari under Maheshkhali upazila in the district at 2.30pm tomorrow, said CPA Secretary Omar Faruk.

She will also inaugurate the 1200-MW power plant’s first unit (600 MW) and Single Point Mooring (SPM) at Matarbari under Maheshkhali upazila.

Sheikh Hasina, also Awami League (AL) president, will join a public meeting at Matarbari Thermal Power Plant Project’s township ground at 3.15pm under the arrangement of AL’s Maheshkhali Upazila unit.

The 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 will begin tomorrow.

This development will enable 8,000 to 10,000 container ships to directly access to the jetty.

The state-owned 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 sole deep sea port, was undertaken at a cost of around Taka 17,777 crore with a project duration extending until December 31, 2026.

On September 20, Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited (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, said CPGCBL managing director Abul Kalam Azad.

Talking to BSS, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said when the Matarbari deep sea port goes into operation, it will add $ 2-3 billion to the country’s economy as the cost of transporting goods from Singapore and Colombo ports will be reduced by 10 to 20 percent.

He said the port will be a cornerstone of South Asia, ushering in with new hopes for economic uplift and industrialization.

He also said that 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.

He said Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina has taken Matarbari deep seaport to a dreamed place, as she was the first to think of building such a port with massive potentials there.

Chittagong Port Chairman Rear Admiral Mohammad Sohail said 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 after the inauguration of Matarbari port.

Currently, it takes 45 days to ship a product shipment from Bangladesh to America, he said, adding upon opening of the port, it will need just 23 days to reach the destination directly.

Matarbari Port Development Project director Zahid Hossain said that 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, he added.

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

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 at an estimated cost of over Tk 17,777.20 crore for the establishment of the country’s first and only deep sea port. Out of this, Taka 8955.82 crore will be spent on the construction of seaport.

The Japanese government through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide a total loan assistance of Taka 12, 892.76 crore for the construction of ports and roads.

The port will have the capacity to handle an estimated 0.6 to 1.1 million TEUs (20-foot containers) 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 March 10, 2020.

The duration of the project is from January 2020 to December 31, 2026. The project is being implemented by the Chittagong Port Authority (CHABAK) of the Ministry of Shipping. Apart from this, the Department of Roads and Highways is constructing roads in the project area.

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