Construction of deep-sea port at Sonadia to begin next year

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Construction of deep-sea port at Sonadia to begin next year

By Kashem Mahmud

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh, July 12 (BSS) – The construction of a deep-sea port near Sonadia island in Cox’s Bazar will start in the next year and the port is expected to come into operation by 2020.

Shipping ministry sources said the much-expected deep-sea port will be constructed at a cost of about Taka 60,000 crore.

The project will be implemented in three phases. In the first phase, nine jetty-berths will be constructed at a cost of Taka 13,000 crore.

A technical and economic study report on the deep-sea port will be placed in an inter-ministerial meeting in Dhaka on July 15. The meeting, to be held at the shipping ministry, will review the report and finalise it.

According to sources, an eight-member inter-ministerial committee led by the shipping minister will finalise the report after necessary modifications to send it to the cabinet and the Executive Committee of National Economic Council [ECNEC].

Other members of the committee are the cabinet secretary, the finance secretary, the planning secretary, the economic relations division secretary, the Security and Exchange Commission chairman and the chairmen of Chittaging and Mongla port authorities.

The construction of the deep-sea port was an election pledge of the Awami League-led grand alliance.

The shipping ministry has taken the deep-sea port construction as a priority project to develop the entire region as a business hub.

Shipping Minister Dr Afsarul Amin told BSS that after selection of the site for the deep-sea port, the techno-economic study has been completed and the review of the report would be held at the ministry on July 15.

The process is underway to place the project at the cabinet, pre-ECNEC and ECNEC soon, he added.

The minister said this is a project of huge economic potentials for Bangladesh. It will be implemented with public-private joint investment and if required, shares will be floated in the capital market, he added.

Thirteen percent of the estimated expenditure of the deep-sea port will be taken from the Chittagong seaport.

Chittagong Port Authority Chairman Commodore RU Ahmed said the consultant firm has prepared the draft report on the deep-sea port after hydrographic and other studies.

If developed as a transhipment port like those in Singapore and Colombo, this port will be able to attract the neighbouring countries. This port will also play a big role in keeping the country’s economy vibrant, he added.

Engineer Muhammad Khademul Bashar, deputy manager of Chittagong Port Authority and member of five-member technical committee in aid of consultant firm Pacific Consultants International (Japan), said the study of the deep-sea port had continued for three years and about a 2,500-page draft report was finalised in nine volumes.

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