Sunday, 23 January, 2022; 6:35 pm
Payra Seaport, the third seaport of Bangladesh located on the west bank of Rabnabad Channel at Kalapara in Patuakhali, brings a high hope for the nation after its being inaugurated for limited scale operation on 13 August, 2016. Hopefully, the full-fledged functions will be commenced in 2018 and the port will provide services round-the-clock. This port will be built as a deep seaport in future. For the development of the port, there would require about six thousand acres of land. This place has been chosen because of land availability, and the height of the site is two metres above from sea level, for which the land does not go underwater in monsoon. The land is connected by roads and rivers too.
The need of the country is expanding on a greater scale as it is in a transitory position from lower-income country to middle-income country. The port is expected to reduce the pressure on the country’s other two seaports, i.e., Chittagong and Mongla seaport. Chittagong and Mongla ports will not be able to grip the shipping needs in the next 15 years, as the anticipated GDP growth states that the nation’s container handling demand will be tripled by 2030.
In addition to container handling, coal is estimated to be the second base cargo for the port as the country will need huge coal imports for coal-based power plants. The other major dry bulk imports are cement clinker, brick kilns, food grain and many other materials including bagged fertiliser, steel, forest products and cruise vessels. A Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal will also be made there to handle the import of LNG. There is also a prospect to build up an oil refinery. Consequently, the seaport will play a key role in future. To make Payra port more functional, the government needs to connect the port to Dhaka by roads, waterways and railways.
The uniqueness of the seaport is that the foreign ship will be able to come here directly as it is located centrally. The depth of Payra seaport is 15 metres compared to 9.2 metres that of Chittagong port. Another important fact is that mother vessels can also be able to anchor there due to its depth. This will facilitate Bangladesh to easily handle large vessels, which the country cannot do now.
The port will also create opportunities by establishing new industries like garment plants, shipbuilding sectors and other exportable production plants which will particularly generate a large number of employment. The adjacent areas would witness an investment boom after its full-fledged operation by encouraging private companies to set up plants in the southern region. Particularly, the people of the area would be much benefited from the port. It may be mentioned that the port will certainly make the weak south-west region more vibrant and will contribute to the economic development of Bangladesh.
Additionally, the port will make the dream cherished by the government for regional connectivity come into reality. If the Seven Sisters of India transport their goods through Bangladesh by using the port, Bangladesh can be hugely benefitted by imposing duty on that. If Nepal and Bhutan use the port for carrying their products, Bangladesh will certainly earn a handsome amount from that. Both Nepal and Bhutan are landlocked countries, so Bangladesh may be a potential way for shipping their goods with a competitive package including another height in terms of regional connectivity including bilateral trade relations.
The port will be a key player for Bangladesh in the international seaborne trade as it has all the strategic, geographic and hydraulic opportunities. Undoubtedly, Payra will ensure the economic and social development of the country by creating the business, employment as well as goods transportation in general.
The article first appeared at the Daily Observer.
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