CHITTAGONG, Apr 20: While the Chittagong seaport will continue to play the leading role, a substantial new port capacity will be needed during the seventh five year plan (FYP) and beyond, a senior official at Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) said here Wednesday.
The government had considered it necessary in anticipation of the growing demand for port services emerging from growing income and international trade, CPA member (admin and planning) Zafar Alam told a press briefing at the CPA board room, ahead of the 130th anniversary of the port.
He said the new one will be a deep sea port planned to be developed at Matarbari, in addition to stepping up the use of Mongla port facilities as well as developing a port at Payra in Patuakhali.
"It is clear that a new deep sea port is necessary for the country," said Mr Zafar. "The development of port facilities for coal imports will be given top priority in order to support the power generation plan."
He said the government had initiated a move to construct a deep sea port in Sonadia of Cox's Bazaar under PPP (public-private partnership) initiative. Due to lack of response from the private sector, he added, steps have been taken to implement the project under Government to Government (G2G) agreement.
The 1200 megawatt (MW) Matarbari Ultra Super Critical Coal-fired Power Plant project funded by the government of Japan contains the components like the deep sea port for the coal import, which is expected to provide the power generation companies with the opportunity to plan and develop coal-fired power plants.
It will also facilitate procuring coal from international market at relatively cheaper price as compared to the individually purchased coal from foreign countries.
JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) was also examining the possibility to set up the large coal transshipment terminal at Matarbari port to cater to the demand of nearly 3,500 MW of power generation by 2020.
Under the FYP, the Chittagong port will be developed as "Climate resilient" one against the risks of sea level rise (SLR) and land subsidence potential.
The navigability of the channel will be improved and maintained through capital dredging and regular maintenance dredging.
Container handling capacity will be increased through expansion of terminal/yard facilities, acquisition of modern container handling equipment and procurement of harbour crafts and vessels to ensure improved operating system.
To decongest the port, the public and private sectors will set up ICDs/CFS (container freight stations) at all potential cargo distribution centres across the country.