First commercial ship reaches Matarbari deep sea port

The first commercial ship sailed through the Matarbari channel in Maheshkhali upazila on Tuesday morning, flying the Panama flag

The foreign ship- MV Venus Triumph reached the deep-sea port with the help of powerful tugboat ‘Kandari-8’ at 10 am.

Before that another ship from Indonesia with materials for the construction of a coal-based power project on board came to outer port of Chattogram, said Captain Jahirul Islam, harbour master of Chattogram Port.

Ancient Shipment Limited is working as agent of Seashore Private Limited which started for Bangladesh from Pelabuhan Cilegon port of Indonesia on December 22, he said.

“More ships will arrive at the sea port gradually as we are ready to receive ships., he said.

The ship managed to dock at Matarbari deep sea port without waiting at outer-port for high tide as Matarbari channel has excessive drafts.

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Currently ships waiting at outer-ports are brought to the Jetty depending on the high tide of Karnaphuli River which raises the transport cost of the products.

A total of 736 tonnes of steel structures in 313 packages including beams, columns, garters, and towers for development projects were brought in the ship.

Assignment Shipment Company Limited is the local agent of the ship.

The Matarbari deep sea port was built following two Japanese ports- Kashima and Nigat spending Tk 18,000 crore in two phases.

Although the port was scheduled to open in 2026, presently ships are anchoring there temporarily.

Md Jafar Alam, Director of Matarbari deep sea port (Administration and Planning) said 16 meter deep and 250 meter wide channel and terminal have to be constructed for uploading the coals of 1200 megawatt power project in Matarbari.

“We are turning the port into a deep sea port gradually,” he said.

Besides, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has moved to appoint a consultant for its proposed LPG terminal project at under-construction Matarbari Deep Sea Port.

State-owned BPC recently forwarded a letter to the Energy and Mineral Resources Division proposing to assign the Power Cell to appoint a consultant for the LPG terminal project, said BPC Director (Planning and Operation) Syed Mehedi Hasan.

The consultant will do feasibility study and supervision work of the LPG terminal project, he added. The move for LPG terminal was initiated against the backdrop of growing demand for liquefied gas across the country.

At present, the country consumes about 1 million MT of LPG annually. The figure was 47,000 MT in 2009, and projected to reach 2.5 million MT by 2025, industry insiders told UNB.

Progress of Matarbari sea port

Some 30 percent construction work on the 1200MW Matarbari coal-fired power plant was completed as of July last as Coal Power Generation Company Bangladesh Limited (CPGCBL), the implementing agency, has a target to complete the expensive project by June 2023, shows an official document.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the project titled ‘Matarbari 2×600 MW Ultra Super Critical Coal Fired Power’ involving TK 35,984.46 crore (equivalent to $4.5bn) in 2014.

It is considered to be the country’s most expensive power generation project as it has included the construction of a berthing port for handling imported coal.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a Japanese donor agency, is providing Tk 28,939.03 crore for the project located at Matarbari and Dhalghata under Moheshkhali upazila in Cox’s Bazar while CPGCBL will finance Tk 4,926.66 crore from its own fund.

CPGCBL officials said the Matarbari project will be an Ultra Super Critical Technology (USCT)-based power plant with 41.99 percent energy efficiency against the average 34 percent efficiency in coal-power projects.

Matarbari thermal power plant will be developed on a 1,500-acre site with two thermal units based on ultra-supercritical coal-fired technology, having an installed capacity of 600MW each.

The Matarbari power plant project was conceived in the government plan in September 2011 and received environmental approval in October 2013. The ground-breaking ceremony for the project was held in January 2018 as its operation is expected to begin by June 2023.

Officials said a new deep-sea port facility named Matarbari Port will be developed for importing the coal required for the power plant which will include a 760m-long container and a multi-purpose terminal.

The port terminal will include a fuel berth, fuel transportation facility, and two coal-handling jetties. The channel length will be 14km, while the width 250m and the maximum depth approximately 18.5m.

CPGCBL officials said the power plant may require 3.73 million tonnes (Mt) of coal a year, which will be imported from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa through the Matarbari Port.

A consortium of Sumitomo, Toshiba and IHI was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the project in August 2017.

Sumitomo subcontracted Toshiba Plant Systems and Services for constructing the port and providing other plant equipment and associated civil work, while Penta-Ocean Construction was awarded a $1.4bn-worth subcontract for the construction works related to Matarbari port.

Toshiba will supply the steam turbines and generators for the power plant, while IHI will provide the boilers, said one official at CPGCBL.

He said Sumitomo awarded the civil engineering contract worth $840m to Posco E&C, a company based in Korea.

Source: United News of Bangladesh