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Matarbari deep seaport

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Deep sea port project in Matarbari gains pace, Sonadia dropped

'Our neighbouring country Sri Lanka is facing trouble after building a deep sea port with Chinese loans'


The government has decided to drop the plan of building a deep sea port in Sonadia, Cox’s Bazar and fast track the proposed deep sea port in Matarbari. Official sources confirmed to Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday that the move came after giving consideration to the vulnerability of the ecosystem of  Sonadia island, which was declared an Ecologically Critical Area (ECA) back in 1999. But sources also hinted that some geopolitical considerations also came into play.  

At the 5th meeting of the  Fast Track Project Monitoring Committee, held at the Prime Minister’s Office on January 19, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that there would be no deep sea port in Sonadia as such construction would damage the ecological balance of the area, a meeting source told this correspondent.  

It was expected that China would provide funds to build Sonadia deep sea port and a feasibility study was carried out to this end back in 2009. But eventually no Sino-Bangla deal was struck  all these years. The US, China and India, all global and regional big economies, have their diverse perspectives centring on the Bay of Bengal zone.   

Seeking anonymity, a government policymaker told Dhaka Tribune: “We do not want to get involved in regional politics, which may affect our country’s development. Besides, Bangladesh is surrounded by some big foreign deep sea ports, so we do not need to build a shipping terminal here. At the same time, Japan is developing the Matarbari area for an LNG terminal. We can easily develop Matarbari as a deep sea port. That’s why the government changed the decision of constructing a deep sea port in Sonadia.”

“Our neighbouring country Sri Lanka is facing trouble after building a deep sea port with Chinese loans. Now China (China Merchants Ports Holding Company having 70 percent leasing stake) has a large stake at this port. So we were cautious about taking Chinese credit for Sonadia,” explained the policymaker.

On January 18, China and Myanmar signed 33 memoranda of understanding (MoUs), agreements, protocols and exchange letters, including concession agreements and shareholders’ agreement, regarding the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone Deep Sea Port Project in Myanmar.

During a two-day visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping sealed the deep sea port deal in Kyaukpyu area, which is located in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State that borders Bangladesh to the north and the Bay of Bengal to the west.

Experts note that Bangladesh’s dropping of the Sonadia port project encouraged Beijing to look to building an alternative deep-sea port in Myanmar for this region, while India is constructing a road network through its seven-sister region to access the deep-sea port in Myanmar.

Dr Amena Mohsin, who teaches international relations at the University of Dhaka, told Dhaka Tribune: “I think Bangladesh is now doing global economic diplomacy. Recent trends show that the country wishes to move forward from its old diplomatic tactics. Previously, Bangladesh used to practice the same pattern of pro-India or pro-China diplomacy but now its strategies are changing.”

“China didn’t stand beside Bangladesh in resolving the Rohingya crisis. Rather, China always lent support to Myanmar on the issue. I think this Chinese strategy also forced Bangladesh to think otherwise,” elaborated Dr Amena Mohsin.   

Matarbari port project gaining pace

Two days after the decision to drop the Sonadia deep sea port project, the Chief Representative of the Bangladesh Office of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Hitoshi Hitara, met State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury at the latter’s secretariat office on January 21. 

A press release issued by the shipping ministry states, “Matarbari port is a highest priority project of the government. We are going to place this project before the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) meeting soon, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury told Hitoshi Hirata.”      

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Khalid Mahymud Chowdhury said, “Usually if a sea port is of over14-meter depth, it is considered a deep sea port. The Matarbari port is going to be 19 meters deep. In a sense we can use it as a deep sea port.”  

Officials of the shipping ministry said the primary cost of Matarbari port development is estimated to be Tk.17,777.16 crore. JICA and Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) will construct it jointly.  

Of the amount, JICA will provide Tk 12,892.76 crore, the Bangladesh government Tk 2,671.15 crore and the CPA Tk 2,213.94 crore.

The timeframe of this project is from 2020 to 2024.

According to the plan, two jetties having a capacity of handling 8,000 TUEs (twenty-foot equivalent units) would be readied at Matarbari. The jetties will make possible the handling of more than three times the 2,500 TUEs daily now being handled at Chittagong Port.

How the business hub will look

The JICA team also shared a drawing, ‘Future image of Moheshkhali-Matarbari area,’ at Tuesday’s meeting at the shipping ministry. Dhaka Tribune has collected a copy of that image.

A graphic presentation of the proposed project gives a beautiful look of the project site and its adjoining areas, having a 28km four-lane road with 17 bridges. The total length of the bridges is estimated to be nearly 7km.  

Additionally, a number of high-rises will be constructed there, to facilitate all kinds of works and accommodation. Once completed, the project is expected to draw a number of tourists to the once remote island.   

Member (Administration and Planning) of Chittagong Port Authority, Md Zadar Alam, told this correspondent that the port would be connected to the national highway from Chokoria to Cox’s Bazar.

“There will be two jetties: one is a 300-meter multipurpose jetty and the other is a 460-meter container jetty,” he added.

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ECNEC approves Tk 177.77 billion Matarbari deep-sea port

Published: 10 Mar 2020 04:28 PM BdST Updated: 10 Mar 2020 04:33 PM BdST

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council has approved the country’s first deep-sea project that is estimated to cost Tk 177.77 billion.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency will provide Tk 128.93 billion for the port to be built in Matarbari of Cox’s Bazar, Planning Minister MA Mannan said at a media briefing in Dhaka on Tuesday after a meeting.

The government and the Chittagong Port Authority, the agency assigned to implement the project, will provide a total of Tk 48.84 billion.

The project is expected to be complete by 2026, according to a project document. 
The port will be equipped with two terminals: one is 300 metres long and the other is 460 metres long.  

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting that approved the project.

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Ecnec clears 9 projects worth Tk 24113.27 cr

 Published at 05:33 pm March 10th, 2020

Of the approved nine projects, seven are new while two others are revised projects

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved nine projects including Matarbari port development project worth Tk 24113.27 crore.

The approval came from the weekly Ecnec meeting held at the NEC conference room with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Planning Minister MA Mannan, Agriculture Minister M Abdur Razzaque, Information Minister Mohammad Hasan Mahmud, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Md Tazul Islam, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin, Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury, among others, attended the meeting.

Briefing the reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that a total of nine projects were approved involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 24,113.27 crore. “Of the total project cost, Taka 6,151.26 crore will come from the Government of Bangladesh, Taka 2,213.25 crore from the concerned organization’s own fund while the rest of Taka 15,748.76 crore as project assistance,”

Of the approved nine projects, seven are new while two others are revised projects.

The Chattogram Port Authority and the Roads and Highways Division under the Ministry of Shipping will implement the Matarbari Port Development project by December 2026.

The Planning Minister said the main objective of the project is to enhance the cargo handling capacity of Bangladesh through constructing this Matarbari Port including link road and thus fulfill the demand of international trade as well as facilitating speedy port services with the neighboring countries.

Mannan said the Matarbari sea port would be the country’s 4th port after Chattogram, Mongla and Payra and it would be built as a huge port due to the growing pressure of economic activities.

“This is another ‘dream’ project for the country and it will further strengthen our journey towards the ocean as well as boost our trade and commerce,” he said.

The Planning Minister said of the total project cost of Taka 17,777.16 crore for the Matarbari project, Taka 2,671.15 crore will come from the Government of Bangladesh portion, Taka 2,213.24 crore from the CPA while the rest of Taka 12,892.76 crore from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Another official at the Planning Commission said that this Matarbari Port would fulfill the government’s aspirations for a deep sea port side by side creating opportunities for anchoring container-laden vessels, open goods-laden vessels and oil tankers at the port jetty.

Besides, this port will minimize the pressure on the Chattogram Port alongside meeting the growing demand of the country’s import and export activities. Goods transportation to and from the potential industrial estates at Matarbari and Moheshkhali will also be facilitated once this port is established.

The Matarbari Port will have two separate Terminals having 300 meter and 460 meter length where ships having 8,000 TEUs containers could anchor due to its 16-meter draft at the port channel.

The main project operations include construction of a multipurpose terminal and a container terminal, procurement of necessary cargo handling equipments and construction of 26.7 kilometer link road.

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১৭ হাজার ৭৭৭ কোটি টাকায় দেশের প্রথম গভীর সমুদ্র বন্দরে সরকারের সায়

  জ্যেষ্ঠ প্রতিবেদক,  বিডিনিউজ টোয়েন্টিফোর ডটকম

Published: 10 Mar 2020 05:22 PM BdST Updated: 10 Mar 2020 05:22 PM BdST

কক্সবাজারের মহেশখালীর মাতারবাড়ীতে ১৭ হাজার ৭৭৭ কোটি টাকা ব্যয়ে দেশের প্রথম গভীর সমুদ্র বন্দর নির্মাণ প্রকল্প সরকারের সায় পেয়েছে।

মঙ্গলবার প্রধানমন্ত্রী শেখ হাসিনার সভাপতিত্বে জাতীয় অর্থনৈতিক পরিষদের নির্বাহী কমিটির (একনেক) সভায় প্রকল্পটি অনুমোদন দেওয়া হয় বলে পরিকল্পনামন্ত্রী এমএ মান্নান জানিয়েছেন।

সভা শেষে তিনি সাংবাদিকদের বলেন, প্রকল্পের ১৭ হাজার ৭৭৭ কোটি কোটি ১৬ লাখ টাকার প্রাক্কলিত ব্যয়ের মধ্যে ঋণ সহযোগিতা হিসেবে ১২ হাজার ৮৯২ কোটি ৭৬ লাখ টাকা দিচ্ছে জাপান।

বাকিটার মধ্যে সরকার ২ হাজার ৬৭১ কোটি ১৫ লাখ টাকা ও চট্টগ্রাম বন্দর কর্তৃপক্ষ ২ হাজার ২১৩ কোটি ২৪ লাখ টাকা যোগান দেবে।

নৌপরিবহন মন্ত্রণালয়ের উদ্যোগে নেওয়া প্রকল্পটি চট্টগ্রাম বন্দর কর্তৃপক্ষ এবং সড়ক ও জনপথ বিভাগ যৌথভাবে ২০২৬ সালের মধ্যে বাস্তবায়ন করবে।

প্রকল্প বাস্তবায়িত হলে মাতারবাড়ি গভীর সমুদ্র বন্দরে ৩০০ ও ৪৬০ মিটার দীর্ঘ দুটি টার্মিনাল থাকবে। এর ফলে বিশাল জাহাজ থেকে সরাসরি পণ্য ওঠানামা সহজ হবে।

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12:00 AM, March 11, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:38 AM, March 11, 2020

Matarbari to play host to deep seaport

Project to cost Tk 17,777cr

Dwaipayan Barua and Rejaul Karim Byron


The government is set to construct a deep seaport at Matarbari in Cox's Bazar to help the country handle rising volumes of exports and imports and ease the pressure on the Chattogram port.

The project worth Tk 17,777 crore yesterday got the approval from the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec). Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting at the NEC conference room in the city's Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.

Once completed in December 2026, Matarbari will be the fourth port in Bangladesh.

Of the estimated cost, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) will put in Tk 12,893 crore and the rest, Tk 2,213 crore, will be borne by the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA), Planning Minister MA Mannan told reporters after the meeting.

Export and import activities have increased significantly in recent years, so the country needs a deep seaport to support the growing international trade and the economy, the minister said.

Under the project, a 26.7-kilometre approach road will be constructed. The approach road will be an elevated expressway.

The idea of the deep seaport in Matarbari was conceived after the government started a coal-based power plant project in the area, as a wider channel and a port would be required to bring in the fuel for the plant. 

State-owned Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh (CPGCBL) is implementing the Tk 35,984-crore power plant project.

As part of the 1,200 megawatt power plant project on the same site, almost 90 per cent of the work for creating an artificial channel with 14.5-kilometre long, 250-metre width and 18 metres depth has already been completed.

During a visit to Matarbari, it was seen that the world's third-largest cutter suction dredger named Cassiopeia V is busy excavating the channel.

On the northern side of the channel, a 1,750-metre breakwater has been constructed in order to protect the channel from the force of the sea waves and mitigate sedimentation.

The CPA now plans to enhance the width of the channel by 100 metres, as per the requirements of the proposed seaport.

The channel already has a depth of 16 metres and it would be extended by up to 18 metres.

The Karnaphuli channel of the Chattogram port has only 9.5 metres depth, CPA Chairman Rear Admiral Zulfiquer Aziz told The Daily Star recently.

The planned draft of the channel would allow bigger-sized vessels with capacity to carry up to 8,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) containers to come in, which is four times the capacity of the ships now accommodated at the Chattogram port channel.

The first phase of the port with two terminals -- a 300-metre multipurpose terminal for bulk cargo carriers and a 460-metre container terminal -- would be completed by 2026.

Once the first phase is completed, the port would be able to handle 8 lakh TEUs container annually.

The shipping ministry approved the acquisition of 1,084 acres of land for the deep seaport to be built in two phases, sources said. Another 288.24 acres of land would be acquired later.

Three more container terminals would be set up in the adjoining areas in the second phase, the CPA chief said.

Japanese firm Penta Ocean Construction Company, as the sub-contractor, is implementing the breakwater, channel and land development portions of the project.

The Chittagong port handled 2.89 million TEUs containers in 2019 and its capacity would be at best 5 million TEUs even after the implementation of several ongoing expansion projects, said Chattogram Port Users Forum Chairman Mahbubul Alam.

"The Matarbari port would certainly play a supplementary role in catering to the extra volume of exports and imports in future," he added.

Also at yesterday's Ecnec meeting, the green light was given for construction of a bridge over the Payra river in Patuakhali at a cost of Tk 1,042 crore. The project is due to be completed by December 2025.

The project was undertaken after Shirshendu Biswas, a fourth-grade student in the district, wrote to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requesting her to construct a bridge over the river in Mirzaganj upazila in 2016.

The meeting also approved the Dhaka Sanitation Improvement Project involving Tk 3,855 crore. Of the fund, the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will jointly provide Tk 2,856 crore.

The project has been undertaken in a bid to develop the sanitation system in selected areas of the city and improve the institutional and operational capacity of the Dhaka Wasa.

Two revised projects also received approval at the meeting.

One of them is aimed at improving nutrition through production of fruits round the year. The project was undertaken in 2015 at a cost of Tk 195 crore. The project's cost was revised up to Tk 460 crore yesterday, up from Tk 299 crore in the first revision.

The project cost of the 20-storey building of the National Security Intelligence also witnessed a second revision to Tk 352 crore from Tk 249 crore. The original cost was estimated at Tk 88 crore.   



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Matarbari Port design deal goes to Japan’s Nippon

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:40, Jul 23,2020

The government on Wednesday approved a deal with Nippon Koei of Japan for the appointment of the company as the consultant of Matarbari Port Development Project at the Bay of Bengal.

Nippon will provide design and tender assistance and supervise the construction of the port under the Tk 234 crore deal approved by the cabinet committee on national purchases.

Agriculture minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque presided over the virtual meeting in the absence of finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, who is now in abroad.

 Additional secretary Nasima Begum of the cabinet division told reporters in a virtual briefing that the Japanese company was appointed to the project being implemented by the ministry of shipping.

On March 10, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council approved the construction of a port at Matarbari with Japanese loan to fill the absence of a deep sea port in the country.

The Chattogram Port Authority and the Roads and Highways Division would implement the Matarbari Port Development Project involving Tk 17,777 crore with the Japan International Cooperation Agency providing a Tk12,892 crore as loan.

Planning minister MA Mannan said it was ‘another dream’ project aimed at facilitating the country’s growing exports and imports. The project is expected to be completed by 2026.

Nasima Begum said the committee approved seven other proposals including procurement of 7.30 lakh tonne fertiliser at a cost of Tk 1,357 crore for the current fiscal year and the import of refined petroleum oils from Thailand, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia for meeting the demand until December this year.

The committee also approved purchasing equipment from Flora Telecom Limited for an educational programme related project at a cost of Tk 96.85 crore.



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12:00 AM, September 24, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:03 AM, September 24, 2020

Contracts signed with Japanese firms for Matarbari port project

Star Business Report


Bangladesh yesterday signed two agreements with the joint ventures led by two Japanese firms to appoint consultants for the engineering and consultancy services for the Matarbari Port Development Project.   

Nippon Koei Joint Venture of Japan has been selected as the top-ranked consulting firm to render engineering-related services with a negotiated contract price of Tk 234 crore.

A joint venture of Oriental Consultants Global Co Ltd, DDC Ltd and BCL Ltd has been selected as the consulting firm to render services related to the Roads and Highways Department (RHD)'s component of the project with a negotiated contract price of Tk 466 crore.

The Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) inked the deal with the Nippon Koei JV and the RHD struck the other agreement with the JV of Oriental Consultants Global at a programme at the Hotel Intercontinental in Dhaka, the shipping ministry said in a press release.

While attending the ceremony virtually, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, state minister for shipping, appreciated the findings of a study that placed the Matarbari deep seaport on the same channel developed by the ultra-supercritical coal-based power plant project with a little modification.

He said this could be a lesson on how to maximise the benefit of investment and value for money strategy.

The port would broaden the country's rights in the Bay of Bengal, said Planning Minister MA Mannan.

Yuho Hayakawa, chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency in Bangladesh, said the Jica is happy that the contract for the consultancy services of the project was signed.

The Jica's mission has been working closely with the shipping ministry, the CPA and the RHD from the inception of the project and is ready to work until its completion, he said.

The Matarbari project in Cox's Bazar is expected to complete by 2026. Once officially launched, ships that can ply in the sea waters as deep as 18.5 metres and carry about 8,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit of containers would anchor at the port. This would bring down the transport cost by about 15 per cent.

The project would cost Tk 17,777 crore. The Jica would provide Tk 12,892 crore in loans, the CPA Tk 2,213 crore and the government Tk 2,671 crore.

Shipping Secretary Mohammed Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury and Japanese Ambassador Hiroyuki Yamaya were present. 



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12:00 AM, November 17, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:34 AM, November 17, 2020

Engineering consultants start work for Matarbari port dev project

Staff Correspondent, Ctg


The engineering consultant team appointed for the development of Matarbari deep-sea port in Moheshkhali started its work yesterday.

The Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) on September 23 signed an agreement with Japanese firm Nippon Koei Joint Venture (JV) Company Ltd for the engineering and consultancy services of the Matarbari Port Development Project.

Nippon Koei was selected as the top-ranked consulting firm to render engineering related services with a negotiated contract price of Tk 234 crore.

The consultant team also includes Overseas Coastal Area Development Institute of Japan (OCDI), Japan Port Consultants (JPC) and a Bangladeshi firm Development Design Consultants Ltd.

The team will be responsible for the design work, tender assistance and construction supervision of the project, said Hiroshi Otani, team leader of Nippon Koei Co Ltd, at a press conference at the port building yesterday.

Also, the team would provide technology transfer to the CPA, he said.  The team consists of 30 experts from Japan, 18 from Bangladesh and 21 supporting staff, all of whom are Bangladeshi nationals.

The project is divided into two packages. The package 1 includes design, tender assistance and the construction supervision for the marine and civil works.

The package 2 includes services for the procurement of cargo handling equipment and port operation vessels.

The detail design would be conducted between November 2020 and June 2021. The schedule for completing tender assistance is from July 2021 to June 2022, and the construction supervision from July 2022 to December 2025.

Otani said the team hopes it would use the latest technologies from Japan, such as strut structure for jetty, seismic base isolation system for quay gantry crane, a special method for corrosion protection, and maintenance-free plant system.

The project director, Md Zafar Alam, who is also the member (administration) of the CPA, said they hope the team would be able to complete the works before the schedule.

CPA Chairman SM Abul Kalam Azad said the project is a fast-track initiative of the government and is an outcome of the concept of the Big-B, the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt, jointly announced by the prime ministers of Bangladesh and Japan.

The project aims at strengthening the port logistics capacity of the country by constructing a new commercial port and a port connecting road with the national highway, thereby contributing to the acceleration of logistics with neighbouring countries.

Initially, the construction of a coal jetty was planned for a 1,200MW coal-fired power plant in Matarbari. When the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) started the project to construct the coal jetty, it saw the potential of a commercial port.

The Matarbari Port will be developed in two phases.

In the first phase, a 300-metre multi-purpose terminal with a backup area of 29.15 acres will be constructed by June 2025. A 460-metre container terminal with a backup area of 50 acres will be built within December 2025.

Once constructed, the container terminal of the port would be capable of providing berthing facilities to big container ships with a draft limit of 18 metres and capacity to transport 8,000 to 10,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containers, the CPA chairman said.

In the multi-purpose terminal, large cargo vessels which can transport 80,000 to 100,000 tonnes of cargoes would be able to berth, he said. 

Currently, ships with as high as 9.5-metre draft can berth at the Chattogram port.



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