Call­ing on the mother ves­sels

Maritime Gateway - - Payra Seaport -

The first deep sea­port of the coun­try has a lot to of­fer in terms of bet­ter con­nec­tiv­ity and re­duced ship­ping cost and time for the exim com­mu­nity

Lo­cated in south­ern Bangladesh on the Ramnabad chan­nel near the Bay of Ben­gal, the Payra Port is des­tined to ful­fil the need for a deep sea port in Bangladesh. It will have a draft of 16 me­ters to wel­come larger ships, ul­ti­mately elim­i­nat­ing the need for cargo to be tran­shipped via Sin­ga­pore or Colombo. The de­vel­op­ment of the port is di­vided into short, medium and long-term plans. Un­der the short-term plan op­er­a­tions of the port with atleast 2.5km ter­mi­nal are set to be­gin by the end of 2018. Cargo will be off-loaded from mother ships at outer an­chor­age and trans­ported to hin­ter­land through river routes. The mid-term plan in­cludes mak­ing the port fully op­er­a­tional with a min­i­mum 10km con­tainer and bulk ter­mi­nals and as­so­ci­ated fa­cil­i­ties by 2023. The long-term plan in­cludes es­tab­lish­ing an ex­port eco­nomic zone, air­port, port city, dock yard, ship­yard, eco-tourism. In ad­di­tion to con­tainer han­dling, coal is said to be the sec­ond base cargo for the port as five coal-based and one Lng-based power plants with a ca­pac­ity of 9,000 megawatt of elec­tric­ity will be built near the port. The five plants will re­quire 20 mil­lion tonnes of coal a year that will be pri­mar­ily moved by the port.

The port will also have a bulk ter­mi­nal to han­dle coal, a con­tainer ter­mi­nal, and oil and LNG ter­mi­nals. It is ex­pected to han­dle 75,000 con­tain­ers a year when it be­comes fully op­er­a­tional. This ca­pac­ity is five times more than the ex­ist­ing other sea ports. From the outer an­chor­age of the port im­ports can be eas­ily sent to Dhaka, Narayan­ganj, Khulna, Barisal and other places.

The port author­ity has inked a dredg­ing con­tract worth $600 mil­lion with Jan De Nul. Ves­sels with draught of up to 11 me­tres will be able to berth at the sea­port at high tide once the first phase of dredg­ing is com­pleted by 2020. The sec­ond and third phases are likely to end by 2022, fa­cil­i­tat­ing the en­try of ships with draught of up to 14 me­tres to the sea­port.

Chittagong and Mongla Ports can han­dle ves­sels with a draft of 8.5 me­ters, ne­ces­si­tat­ing use of feeder ves­sels that adds to the cost and time. Tran­ship­ping via Sin­ga­pore or Colombo, it takes al­most a month for ship­pers to send a con­sign­ment to Europe. But if a deep sea port is de­vel­oped that can let-in mother ves­sels then a lot of time will be saved in ex­ports, also elim­i­nat­ing the use of feeder ves­sels. Cur­rently, ship­pers have to wait weeks to­gether to catch feeder ves­sels that con­nect mother ves­sels mov­ing on the east west trade lane. Be­sides, an eco­nomic zone and an air­port will be set up near the port.

The Min­istry of Ship­ping is de­vel­op­ing Payra Port with proper rail, road and wa­ter­way con­nec­tiv­ity to Dhaka where gar­ment in­dus­try is con­cen­trated and most of the im­ports and ex­ports also orig­i­nate from the cap­i­tal city. Bangladesh Rail­way has re­cently roped-in DP Rail from UK to de­velop 240km rail line be­tween Dhaka and Payra sea­port. The port author­ity hopes the sea­port will help es­tab­lish a new north-north eco­nomic cor­ri­dor and trans­form the en­tire south-cen­tral zone of the coun­try.

The north-east­ern states of In­dia along with the land­locked Hi­malayan na­tions of Nepal and Bhutan will be able to use the port and it can be­come the cen­tre of the pro­posed Bangladesh, China, In­dia and Myan­mar-eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor.

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