August 24, 2023
DHAKA – The Chattogram port has the potential to draw around $5 billion to $7 billion in foreign direct investments over the next three years, said Rear Admiral Mohammad Sohail, the newly appointed chairman of Chittagong Port Authority (CPA), yesterday.
With these foreign investments, the port will be able to play a vital role in the economic development of the country in the coming years, he opined.
Referring to the interests of different foreign port operators to invest in the ongoing and proposed projects of the port, he said many countries were showing interest.
With increased investment, there will be more employment. Modern technologies will be adopted while foreign exchange reserves will also increase and the efficiency and capacity of the port will be enhanced, he said.
With these foreign investments, the port will be able to play a vital role in the economic development of the country in the coming years, said CPA chairman
Sohail hoped for the construction of the first terminal of the Matarbari deep sea port at Maheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar to begin this year.
He also informed that a master plan for a Bay Terminal project at the Chattogram port was expected to be ready by the middle of September.
“…the main work on the proposed Bay Terminal project will begin by October,” he said.
The new CPA chairman was addressing a views-exchange meeting with journalists for the first time since joining office on May 1. Senior CPA officials were present.
Sohail highlighted progresses of ongoing expansion projects of the Chattogram port.
Negotiations are ongoing with Saudi Arabia-based Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT) to invest in operating a newly built Patenga Container Terminal (PCT), he said.
Singapore has shown interest in investing in the Bay Terminal project while Denmark is also keen on operating a terminal of the port, he said.
The local terminal operators are doing good but all the port terminals cannot be run by the local operators only, he opined.
A German joint venture firm is finalising the design for a breakwater and channel dredging work for the proposed Bay Terminal, he said.
The existing depth of the natural channel there is currently 8 metres which will be increased to up to 12 metres through dredging, enabling the port to allow the entry of bigger ships with a capacity to carry over 5,000 TEUs of container, he said.
Currently the port can allow ships with a capacity of a maximum of 2,500 TEUs, said Sohail.
Once the proposed 6-kilometre-long Bay Terminal comprising three terminals is operational, it will enable the Chattogram port to run round-the-clock vessel movement as the site is on the coast of the Bay of Bengal, he said.
Currently, vessel movement to and from the port through the Karnaphuli channel depends on high tides.
Sohail hoped for it to take two and a half years to construct the first terminal of the Matarbari deep sea port.
It is mentionable that an artificial channel which has been constructed for Matarbari Power Plant will be used for the Matarbari deep sea port.
The CPA chairman said currently the Matarbari channel has a depth of 16 metres and it would be increased to up to 18 metres by March next year which would enable giving access to vessels of a capacity of one lakh tonne.
Works are ongoing in full swing to make the deep sea port operational at the soonest possible time, he said.
Land acquisition is going on while tender bids coming in over the purchase of pilot and survey vessels, tugboats as well as cargo handling equipment, he said.