Eastern Times, Special Correspondent, Dhaka, 18 November: The implementation of Bangladesh’s Matarbari Port Development Project has officially begun with the aim of constructing a deep seaport at Maheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar by 2025.
Chattogram Port Authority Chairman Rear Admiral SM Abul Kalam Azad stated this at a press briefing at Chattogram Port Bhaban on Monday afternoon.
He said once the construction of Tk17,777crore deep seaport ends by mid-2025, ships with a depth of 18.5 meters will be able to dock at the terminal of Matarbari Port, being constructed at Matarbari and Dhalghat areas of Maheshkhali with funding from the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).
Zafar Alam, Project Director of Matarbari Port Development Project and Member (Planning and Admin) of Chattogram Port Authority, and Japanese consultant firm Nippon Koei’s team leader Hottani, among others, also addressed the briefing.
At the briefing, Azad said 92% of the total trade of the country is conducted through Chattogram Port. With the growth of different businesses, the port has reached the last stage of its capacity. In this context, the government undertook the initiative to build the Matarbari deep sea port in 2014.
“With the signing of the consultant agreement on September 23, implementation of this project officially starts today,” he said, claiming that as a result of this port, the formation of an economic belt from Dhaka to Cox’s Bazar will be accelerated.
Project director Zafar Alam said considering the Covid situation, consultants of other development projects had gone back without completing their job, but consultants of this project carried out their duty despite facing the risk of being infected. We hope that the construction of the port will be completed six months ahead of schedule in 2025.
He also said the time for unloading goods at Matarbari port will be three days less than that of Chattogram Port.
“The port will be built with the capacity to handle ships with drafts two times more than ships of Chattogram Port. As a result, ships with 8,000-10,000 thousand containers will be able to anchor at the port. This will reduce the cost of goods transportation,” he said, adding, “Initially, the port is designed to handle six lakh containers. If the number of jetties increases later, the capacity will increase.”
In reply to a query, Alam said Matarbari port will be administered by the authorities of Chattogram Port.
Consultant team leader Hottani said the first phase of the Matarbari port development project consists of preparations of design and other civil works. Handling equipment will be collected in the second phase. Keeping in mind the issue of earthquakes, the latest Japanese technology will be used in implementing the project.
At the briefing, it was made known that the Japanese consultant firm Nippon Koei will fix the design costs and prepare tender documents, besides monitoring and supervising infrastructure construction.
In future, the consulting firm will coordinate different issues from equipment procurement to launching of the port. After the inauguration of the port, the consulting firm will provide all necessary support for one year in exchange of a Tk234 crore fee.
Meanwhile, Oriental Consultant Global Company will provide consultancy to the Roads and Highways Department on the construction of an approach road to the port. Its consultancy fee is Tk446crore.
Chattogram Port Secretary Md Omar Faruk and Director (traffic) Enamul Karim also attended the press briefing.