To ensure load unloads of deep-draft vessels the Matarbari port is essential for Bangladesh and adjacent countries and areas. The Matarbari deep seaport has a 16m depth that will help 16m draft vessels to unload their cargo at the terminal. At deep-sea, currently, mother vessels unload the cargo at feeder’s vessel and they carry the cargo to the Chittagong port. The present seaports (Chattogram seaport and Mongla seaport) of the country cannot handle huge containers and vessels and the building of a deep seaport is the only solution. Chittagong port can’t load-unload from more than 9.5-meter vessels.
Keywords: Matarbari deep seaport, Mother vessel, South Asia.
The channel built for the Matarbari coal-fired power plant would be extended to the sea by deepening it so that 16-meter-draft vessels with 8,000 TEU container capacity could berth. The country’s first deep-sea port at Matarbari will be modeled on the Japanese ports of Kashima and Niigata and a feasibility study of the proposed port has already been completed, said CPA chairman Commodore Zulfiqur Aziz. The government is planning to build a deep seaport in Matarbari, Cox’s Bazar, by using a facility of the Matarbari coal-fired power plant. The deep seaport will have a draft of 16 meters, where 350-meter-long vessels with a capacity of 8,000 TEU containers will be able to berth—this is double the capacity of the Chittagong Port. At present, 190-metre-long and 9.5-meter-draft vessels can berth at the country’s premier port, which can handle 3,500–3,800 TEU containers.
It has been forecasted that by 2041, the existing container handling would rise from 5.7 million TEUs to 6.5 million TEUs and the number of vessels would reach 8,200. The present seaports (Chittagong seaport and Mongla seaport) of the country cannot handle huge containers and vessels and the building of a deep seaport is the only solution. Japan will give most of the required amount as a loan. The Balance amount will be paid by the Bangladesh government and the CPA. This is an enterprise of the Bangladesh Naval Transportation ministry and would be completed by 2026. There would be two terminals with road communication which would help big ships load and unload easily. The design and layout are made by Japanese designers. The Japanese organization involved is JICA.
Why Matarbari deep seaport?
The deep seaport is because other Bangladesh seaports i.e., Chittagong and Mongla port are not deep seaports. To ensure load-unload of deep-draft vessels the Matarbari port is essential for Bangladesh and adjacent countries and areas. Chittagong port can’t load-unload from more than 9.5-meter vessels. A deep-sea, currently mother vessels unload the cargo at the feeder’s vessel and they carry the cargo to the Chittagong port. It is very costly. The Matarbari deep seaport has a 16m depth that will help 16m draft vessels to unload their cargo at the terminal. It will increase our country’s cargo handling capacity cost-effectively. A 28-kilometer road will be added to communicate well with the port including 17 ports. It will enhance the supply chain management of the adjacent areas.
Reconnecting Bay of Bengal
The Matarbari deep seaport can be a milestone to reconnect the Bay of Bengal with surrounding areas of Asia. The countries like Myanmar, Bengal, Srilanka, China were linked before by sea. But the creation of sovereign states such as Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, and Srilanka set some kind of impediments between the Bay of Bengal and surrounding states. Border disputes also helped to isolate the Bay of Bengal from Japan, China, India, and Myanmar. New conditions created by Matarbari deep seaport will help to develop the global supply chain and value chain.
For South Asia, especially the sub-region of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN), enhanced connectivity over land, air, and sea can bring about a sea change in the region’s socio-economic growth potentials. Against this backdrop, diversification of communication and logistic infrastructures like building an additional seaport in the country’s coastal belt will undoubtedly cushion a load of additional cargoes via Bangladesh and make the transit-cum-trans-shipment arrangements more viable and cost-effective. Bangladesh currently boasts of three seaports, of which Chattogram Port alone caters to around 92 percent of the country’s trade cargo via the Bay of Bengal. Of these, Mongla has witnessed a gradual growth over the past 10 years, currently accounting for about 7.0 percent of the sea-borne cargo, while Payra is still by and large in a preparatory stage with some question marks regarding its long-term viability. Land-locked Nepal and Bhutan as well as the north-eastern states of India would get a huge fillip in the field of logistics and connectivity if they could use the sea routes via Bangladeshi seaports. With the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funding Tk 132.53 billion out of the total estimated project cost of Tk 185.80 billion, the void of a deep seaport is poised to be filled by 2026.