The realization of a deep seaport in Matarbari, Cox’s Bazar, is edging closer as the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) assumes control of an artificial navigation channel crucial for a coal-fired power plant.
The channel has already been bustling with activity even before the port’s construction.
Since December 2020, a total of 120 vessels, both large and small, carrying construction materials and coal for the 1200MW Matarbari power plant, have docked at the plant’s two jetties.
During a ceremony held at the Chattogram port, the Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited (CPGCBL) Managing Director, Md Abul Kalam Azad, officially handed over responsibility for the Matarbari deep sea port channel to CPA Rear Admiral Mohammad Sohail.
The CPA is now tasked with managing, preserving, and controlling the use of the channel.
Port dues, berth hire charges, piloting, tug charges, and other related fees for seagoing vessels using this channel will be collected by the CPA.
The project initially began with the CPGCBL excavating a 14.3-kilometer long artificial channel, 250 meters wide and 16 meters deep, under the Matarbari power project to transport coal for the plant. The government later expanded its plans to establish a new commercial port at the same location, capitalizing on the deep-draft channel.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which financed the coal power plant, suggested the development of a deep seaport in the area after their feasibility study revealed that the sea at Matarbari had a greater depth than anticipated.
The channel’s width was subsequently increased by 100 meters, and the depth was increased by two meters to facilitate the construction of the Matarbari deep seaport.
To safeguard the channel and harbor from wave forces, the CPGCBL constructed a 1,753-meter-long breakwater on the north side of the approach channel, another 713-meter-long breakwater on the south side, and a 1802.85-meter revetment on the north side.
The Matarbari port development project, with an estimated cost of BDT 177.77 billion, received approval from the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on March 10, 2020.
The CPA and the Roads and Highways Department are set to implement the project by December 2026.
CPA Chairman Sohail revealed that tender bids for the construction of the first terminal of the deep seaport were underway, with hopes that construction would commence later this year.
Under the coal power plant project, two jetties have been constructed for unloading coal and fuel. Since December 29, 2020, when the first vessel carrying construction materials berthed at the first jetty, the channel has been actively used. As of April 26 this year, a vessel of significant size, 229 meters in length and with a draft of 12.5 meters, docked at a coal jetty of the Matarbari power plant.