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Bangladesh might have the closest existing deep sea ports in the world operating side by side if Japan and China get their way.

The Japanese have already started construction of their deep sea port and powerplant facilities on Matarbari Island. They not only want to buy the two aforementioned infrastructure but an entire city along the coast.

The Chinese deep sea port project however became a seriously contentious issue because countries such as India and US posted their dissatisfaction with it.

Under pressure the Bangladesh government cancelled the project on "environmental grounds" but it looks like China has got the green light to restart the project because Bangladesh needs as much FDI as possible and bigger powers such as Japan, China and US will have to play fairly if they want to maintain a profitable and strategic partnership with Bangladesh. The stakes are high because Bangladesh is perched in the central location of the Bay of Bengal. It has a young, dynamic work force ready to move mountains.

The question is will it be really feasible for both deep sea ports to co-exist?


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Following the current demand pattern, BD may not need another deep sea port in next 30 years once Matarbari becomes operational. Also we have several extension projects for Chittagong port. And it would be wise to expand Matarbari instead of constructing another port if demand increases.

However, geopolitical situation may force us to have a Chinese-financed port in the country. In that case we should encourage China to invest in Payra instead of Sonadia. Payra, may not be feasible financially due to high siltation rate, will offer another port outside Chittagong-Cox's Bazar axis. In case of any conflict with Myanmar, Payra can be handy. Also, that axis is connected to the other parts of the country via Feni corridor only. If enemy succeeds to cut-off the Feni corridor, the only option left will be Payra as Mongla is too shallow. But adding another port in the same Chittagong-Cox's Bazar axis won't help too much.

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Payra is not a viable option because that channel is always silted up and it will cost billions of dollars to dredge the channel.

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But a port in the southern part is required outside the Chittagong area. If all the ports are in the same region, there  will be heavy traffic congestion as there is only one entry point to that region. This will increase the lead time and cost of business. Ultimately it will reduce the 'ease of doing business'. Also the security risk I discussed above.  

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12 hours ago, Syed Amar Khan said:

Payra is not a viable option because that channel is always silted up and it will cost billions of dollars to dredge the channel.

And that's why we should find alternate option for Payra in south instead of building another in Sonadia.

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