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Matarbari Deep Sea Port has huge economic significance

Published : Wednesday, 24 April, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 380

Bangladesh is currently the fastest-growing economy and the second-largest economy in South Asia. Bangladesh emphasizes development diplomacy, and megaprojects. Matarbari deep-sea port is one of the most significant megaprojects in Bangladesh that will extensively improve Bangladeshs economic position. Bangladesh has intrinsic value to the major powers like China, India, and the USA. Matarbari deep-sea port increases its value to the major powers because of its geostrategic proximity. This project will elaborately contribute to future Bangladesh economic prosperity as well as attract foreign investment. Though Matarbari Deep Sea Port has enormous significance, it has some drawbacks.

Matarbari port, the largest and first-ever deep sea port, is currently under construction at Matarbari in Moheskhali, Chattogram Division of Bangladesh, with the financial support of the Japan Development Cooperation Agency (JICA) under Japans Big B (Bay of Bengal Growth Belt) initiatives. It is located on the southeastern coast and situated south of Chattanooga port. The project will be the fourth sea port in Bangladesh, based on the similar model of Kashima and Niigata sea ports in Japan. This port will be 2.5 times larger than Kashima Port. The project was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on March 10, 2020. Then the government of Bangladesh made a decision to build a Matarbari deep-sea port in lieu of a Matarbari coal-fired power plant. Implemented by the Chattogram Port Authority, the cost of the project will be 17,777 taka. Among them are 12 thousand 892 crores of loans provided by JICA, 2 thousand 671 crores by the Bangladesh Government, and 2 thousand 213 crores by the Chattogram Port Authority.

Matarbari deep sea port contains setting up coal-based power plants, coal jetties, liquid natural gas terminals, a special economic zone, a pipeline for fuel transportation, a petroleum complex, etc., among 36 other related projects. By providing a 16-meter draft, the ships will be able to carry and transport 8,000 containers at Matarbari. This port includes two phrases of construction, and the first phrase began on December 16, 2020. In addition, the project involves a 460-meter-long container jetty, a 300-meter-long multipurpose jetty, and a 14.3-kilometer-long channel with 16 meters of depth and 350 meters of width. In the first phase of construction, the container terminal will be built on 18 hectares of land with a 460-meter-long berth. The project is set to be finished by December 2026.

The paramount motive of the project is to lessen the intense pressure on Chattogram Port and increase the capacity of ships and containers. It is hoped to handle 11 lakh TEU containers by 2026, which will extend to 42 lakh by 2041. Moreover, a low-cost logistic maritime network will help to accelerate transport in order to hold Bangladeshs export competitiveness in the global market, thrive regional connectivity with neighbouring countries, and foment maritime connectivity.

Matarbari deep sea port will transform Bangladesh into a centre of industrial, regional, commercial, and energy hubs. It will be a dynamic game changer for the Bangladeshi economy. It will attract Indias seven sister states, Kolkata and Haldia ports, Myanmar, Nepal, and Bhutan transhipment. Because of Bangladeshs central location between the Middle East and Northeast Asia, ASEAN and the Gulf countries will use the port. The Matarbari deep sea project will revolutionize the shipping landscape.

Mother vessels will be capable of carrying 10,000 to 12,000 TEU containers at Matarbari deep sea port. One mother vessel will transport the containers of several feeder vessels directly to Matarbari without transhipment, eradicating port logistics costs. After the operation of the Matarbari deep sea port, the costs of transforming goods from Singapore, Malaysia, and Colombo ports will be reduced by 10 to 20 percent, and two or three billion dollars will be added to the Bangladesh economy.

It will play a vital role in the Moheshkhali region with massive industrialization and urbanization by erecting 9 lakh job opportunities and thriving the living standards of people in terms of socio-economic context. The project will contribute 2 to 3 percent to the Bangladeshi GDP.

The project will be a milestone for Bangladesh by improving its maritime trade efficacy and competitiveness, streamlining supply chain management, fostering Bangladeshs trade capabilities, cost-effective product movement, and robust economic growth across numerous sectors. It will also facilitate the direct docking of larger vessels, improving smoother import and export operations, advancing socioeconomic development, creating self-reliance, flourishing tourism, altering slat farming, and bolstering road connectivity. The project will change the economic characteristics of Bangladesh and help it reach a developed country by 2041. Moreover, it will contain the challenges of its LDC graduation.

If the Matarbari deep sea port is completely opened, it will take only 23 days from Bangladesh to arrive in the USA with exported goods. The ship will easily load products at Matarbari and will save $131 on each 200-foot-long container. Because of this project, the local economy of Coxs Bazar will be surpassed by over Tk 1,00,000 crore in various investments. The domestic industrial sector, particularly the RMG industry, will be expanded, bringing foreign currency more. The blue economy will contribute extensively.

Though the Bangladesh government has invested a large portion of its expenditure in the advancement of the transportation sector, the development is questionable for Bangladeshs spectacular economic prosperity. The Bangladeshi bureaucracy is corrupt. As Matarbari deep sea port is underdeveloped by the Minister of Shipping, it might be delayed in time and cost more. Coxs Bazar is the most demandable tourist destination for its eye-catching natural beauties. Ineffective port management will raise environmental concerns and be inimical to natural biodiversity and ecosystems.

As Bangladesh gains prominence in world politics for its extraordinary geographic landscape, megaprojects like Matarbari Deep Sea Port can enhance its significance enormously. This project will increase the intrinsic value of Bangladesh, the Bay of Bengal, and the maritime connectivity sectors progress. In addition, it will drive economic growth both domestically and internationally to a great extent. Overall, it will be a dynamic game changer in Bangladesh.

The writer is a student, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka







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