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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1225

Proposed Sonadia deep-sea port may be a major vehicle of economic development for Bangladesh, shipping minister

M.A. Kader-Asian Tribune Correspondent in Bangladesh

Dhaka, 13 April (Asiantribune.com): The proposed deep-sea port at Sonadia-Moheskhali point will enable Bangladesh to be a major player in the regional trade and act as a gateway to the region because of its geographic location, a study presented at a workshop Sunday in Dhaka said.

"Sonadia Island succeeded so far as the best optimal location for a deep sea port out of the possible nine locations," Eddy Declercq, private sector expert of Japan's Pacific Consultant International (PCI) told the workshop on 'Techno-Economic Feasibility Study of a Deep Sea Port in Bangladesh'.

Bangladesh Shipping Minister Afsarul Amin, who attended the workshop as chief guest, said the deep sea port might be a major vehicle of economic development of Bangladesh.

The minister speaking at the workshop titled, "Techno-Economic Feasibility Study of a deep sea port in Bangladesh" hoped Bangladesh could be turned into an important country like Singapore if the deep-sea port project is implemented in time maintaining the standard of service.

The consultant has suggested the Sonadia-Moheshkhali point as the best location to set up the deep-sea port in three phases until 2055 at a cost of $ 1.2 billion with the first phase completed by 2016.

In the feasibility study, it also said the impact of regional transit cargos for the proposed deep-sea port would be marginal, accounting for about 10 percent of the expected cargo-handling volume. The transit cargo handling, predominantly from China, would be around 10 percent of the total volume.

Good governance would be a key component for the project to be a success, said the PCI official.

Touching on details, Declercq said a harbour of nine 300-metre jetties would be constructed along with required infrastructure and back-up facilities in the first phase.

"[The harbour] would allow berthing of 9 mother vessels, 4 containers and 5 general cargo vessels."

The second phase, expected to be completed by 2035, would see two more harbours with the same specifications.

The deep-sea port would have six harbours when the third phase would be completed by 2055, the PCI expert said.

The 31-month study since June 2006 proposed a 40-km railway track from Chittagong to Cox's Bazar, roads of the same length, development of inland waterways for transportation of goods with facilities of water treatment plant and thermal power plant.

The study recommends forming an interim port authority before setting up a deep-sea port authority.

The shipping minister making a call for donors’ funding said the government would do everything to secure funding for the project.

The study would be reviewed in light of suggestions from Sunday's workshop and then finalised, the minister told reporters afterwards.

Prime minister's economic affairs adviser Mashiur Rahman stressed on attracting foreign and private investments for the project.

The workshop, organized by the shipping ministry, was participated by representatives from different government organizations, members of the technical committee and the parliamentary standing committee on shipping ministry.

- Asian Tribune -

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